I called my friend Tammy in Texas to tell her the exciting news — that Lindsay Lohan had been arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., on a DUI charge.
"Are you out of your mind?" she asked. "My entire county's under 10 feet of water, I haven't had power for three weeks, everything is a total loss, the house smells like Tony Soprano's car trunk, and you think I care about some minor-league movie actress? Who is Linseed Lowhand?"
"A flood," I said. "That's horrible. When did that happen? Is Lindsey Lohan's house OK? She doesn't have a second or third home down there, does she?"
"Don't ever call me again," Tammy said, and her line went dead. Water damage is a terrible thing, but I'm pretty sure if Lohan's house were damaged in a flood, we'd have heard about it. Still, I worry about her. I don't know why Tammy thinks she's in the same league with Lohan. A little conceited if you ask me.
I called my old buddy Charlie in California.
"Pretty shocking, isn't it," I said.
"You're not kidding. I've never seen fires like this. They've closed roads from the smoke, and there are emergency vehicles everywhere. Two hundred houses have been destroyed already, and they think it may get worse."
"I don't know what fires you're talking about. I meant the news about that Beckham guy and his wife."
"What are you talking about?"
"The soccer player. David Beckman. Or is it Beecham? Or Breckman? Or is it Peter Breakstone? Something like that. Anyway, he's married to one of the Space Girls or the Spice Cadets or someone. Trust me, even though they've been saying every year for 30 years that soccer's gonna be huge, this time you can bet the farm on it. It's all over the news. Don't you watch the news?"
"I must have missed it. Probably out hosing down my roof or something. Or maybe planning my evacuation route. Gee, really good talking to you. Please lose my number." The line went dead. Maybe fire burned his telephone pole. I sure hope David Beckworth and Space Woman's home is all right, or I'd have seen it on the news. I wouldn't want them to move back to Europe, or whatever country they're from, and disappoint the hundreds of American soccer fans.
I called Al in Atlanta to chat about Britney Spears' meltdown at a photography session for some magazine. He hadn't even heard about it. Am I the only one left who watches the nightly news? What is wrong with people? Should people even be allowed to vote if they don't keep up with current events? I mean, it's not like Al's stupid or anything, but how could he not have heard about this?
"To tell you the truth, I've been worried about the drought and trying to obey all the water-restriction ordinances. It's tough trying to take a shower in 1 gallon of water."
"What drought? That's the first I've heard about it. Do you think it's lack of water that's making Britney act so strange? Maybe the government can get some water to her. Wouldn't that be the right thing to do, Al? Al? Al, are you there?"
The phones are really acting funny today. I called Bob in Boston.
"Wasn't that the most moving thing you ever saw, Eva Longoria's wedding"
"To tell you the truth, I've never heard of her. I'm following the stories on Colony Collapse Disorder. Seems half the honeybees in the whole country have disappeared almost over night. We need the bees to grow a lot of the crops we need to stay alive."
"Sure, but she married some guy in Paris. Paris! If that's not news, I don't know what is."
"I really couldn't care less who is getting married to whom. Especially people I've never met. Please, turn off the TV and get some help." He hung up.
Turn it off? I think I'm not watching enough television. Because I must have missed all the stories about the effect floods, fires, droughts and the lack of bees will have on Britney, Lindsay, the Blockmans and Eva. When are they going to start reporting on that?
Jim Mullen is the author of "It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life" and "Baby's First Tattoo." You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org