By Hannah Reich Berman
For years, I laughed at people who talk to the television screen. The folks who do that, mainly men, are most often die-hard sports fans. They scream at baseball, basketball, hockey, and football players, and they shriek even louder at umpires and referees. It makes no difference to the screamers that not one of these people whose attention they want to grab can see or hear them. These viewers have to vent, and the shouting does it for them.
There are also women who do it, but they usually talk to (not scream at) the TV screen when they’re watching someone get booted off a competition such as Dancing with the Stars or America’s Got Talent. Now and then I have addressed the screen myself. But I never screamed. I am a groaner. So if, in my opinion, the judges made an error and booted off the wrong contestant in a competition such as Chopped or Cupcake Wars, I groan—often loudly—but rarely do I scream. And should anyone else happen to be in the room with me at the time, groaning is a lot easier on the ears than shrieking. But all that is in the past. I have recently sunk to a new level. I have become a television screamer!
It all began with the abduction and murder of the three Israeli boys, when I cried bitter tears (along with every other decent human being). Next came the slaughter of the Arab boy, undoubtedly as payback for our three boys. As if the slaughter of four innocent youths were not enough, since then all hell has broken loose. It has been said, mainly by the ever-loving media, that Israel is now at war with Hamas. This is a lie. Israel is not now at war with Hamas; Israel has always been at war with that group, as well as with every other terrorist organization.
That the Hamas charter calls for the death of every Jew is no shock to anyone with ears and with a brain, since the group has repeatedly made that pledge since day one. Only someone who happens to be living under a rock would not know that, and it is a constant source of amazement that so many people—members of the media and, even worse, members of our government—are able to overlook that fact.
Sadly, at the moment, there is more than one war going on. There is a brutal conflict between Russia and eastern Ukraine, and the death and devastation have been horrific. Putin is one scary sight. Like everyone else, I am sickened by all of it. I cry for the Israeli soldiers and for all the innocent Israeli citizens who just want to live in peace. I also weep for those equally innocent people who got on an airplane and were shot out of the sky. To add to the worldwide chaos, right now, as I write this, I am learning that the U.S. embassy in Tripoli was closed and those inside evacuated due to militia fighting. And let’s not forget the Algerian flight that crashed in Mali and killed so many people. That makes three air disasters in one week! What is going on? And shortly after crash number three, a 25-year-old nut, on a flight from Canada to Panama, started screaming, “Heads down and hands up!” as he proceeded to shriek that he wanted to bomb Canada. Is the whole world going crazy?
It appears that I am not an exception when it comes to going crazy. As of late, I’ve been doing what I never thought I would do—talking to people who can’t hear me. I scream at news reporters on television, who are supposed to be objective but who manage to convey criticism of Israel. I go berserk when I watch Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas, being interviewed. And I go nuts when I hear what Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has to say. The list of people who are making me react this way is a long one, and it grows longer every day.
Now, I often find myself ranting and raving. But, for the sake of honesty, I want to give credit where credit is due, and I give credit to Americans for my most frustrating moments. When John Kerry made a nasty crack criticizing Israel’s pinpoint precision attacks by suggesting that they were anything but precise, I wanted to smash his on-screen image! And when Obama first said that Israel had the right to defend herself and followed up with some hogwash about urging both sides to show restraint, I became positively apoplectic! I found myself being the one in need of restraint.
Despite my need to watch the news in an effort to keep up with what is happening, minute by minute, now and then I do find myself changing the channel. It happens when I can’t stand to listen to any more drivel. My blood pressure can’t stand it either. Only the combination of being lazy and practical prevents me from jumping to my feet and doing something drastic such as throwing something at the television—something hard. The laziness is that I don’t want to have to clean up the mess that would result, and the practicality is that I don’t want to break the screen.
From now on, I pledge not to cast a cynical eye at the crazy sports fans who scream at their television sets. It’s hard to tell who is more of a meshuganeh. Is it me or is it them? It’s them, of course. Sports are sports, but this is serious! That’s the way it is. ϖ
Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at Savtahannah@aol.com or 516-902-3733.