the game show effect


exhaustion is a tricky state of being

your mind has conversations with itself 

debating over whether you have the energy to 

take your father out to a dinner you can't afford 

take two seconds to say goodnight to him

take out the trash when you get home 

take a shower

take an ambien

take a couple more seconds to figure out 

whether you're actually exhausted

take another ambien

and pass out

with your shoes halfway untied

this is america

we're practically hardwired to reach exhaustion

by the time we enter 5th grade

that's why 10 year olds are so evil now

but you don't have a ten year old 

so you wake up the next morning 

thank science for ambien

& get up to cook some eggs

but you've been too busy to remember

that eggs have an expiration date

just like milk

no cereal for you either

so the next best thing is to pretend you're not hungry

plop your ass on your shitty thrift store couch

and watch reruns of deal or no deal

because you just might crack a smile

at the sight of a middle aged man 

falling to his knees after

making a fifty thousand dollar deal

that could cover his daughter's tuition

or his mother's medical bills

you probably even heard his joints crack

you probably even felt something for the first time in weeks

because you were rooting for that man

you convinced yourself that shouting "no deal” at the screen 

sent him some luck 

and that

right there 

is good television

but you could've just adopted a puppy 

or called your father to tell him you love him

if you wanted to remind yourself 

that you can still be generous

but the magic of tv 

is that you can get through an entire episode 

of literally anything


than it would take for you to muster up the courage 

to say "i love you, dad"

and now

you're going to keep watching that vapid game show 

filled with people like you

people so tired of working soul sucking nine to five's 

tired of upping their ambien dosage 

tired of trying

people that think they need a game show

To feel like they can still win

because getting the price right 

proving you’re smarter than a 5th grader

choosing the right briefcase

and spinning a wheel hard enough 

is easier than falling in love

and raising your kids

it's easier to be exhausted

it doesn't matter how many pills you take 

it doesn't matter how many channels you change 

you'll still be spoon fed the same rerun 

of what life is supposed to taste like

but success is another bully

manufactured by the same people 

that sponsor the game shows

we watch when we can't sleep 

the ones we watch when we can’t dream

when the only option left 

is to be american

is to be a contestant


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