The Rant (February 19, 2015) 

The perils of yelling at your television, watching Sarah Jessica Parker, and saving the Mid-South Coliseum.

click to enlarge Mid-South Coliseum - COURTESY BC BUCKNER | FORGOTTEN MEMPHIS | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • courtesy bc buckner | Forgotten Memphis | Wikimedia Commons
  • Mid-South Coliseum

Ouch. Hold on. Wait a second. Ouch! Ugh. It is so hard to type while hiding under a rock. It's so dark and so cold. I've gone into seclusion because I just caught the tail-end of a news story reporting something about how televisions can record what you shout, uh, say, out loud to the television while watching it and transmit the recordings to some kind of database somewhere. I knew I should never have purchased a flat screen.

If this is actually true, I'm in deep doo-doo with the FBI, CIA, TSA, AA, ABC, NBC, CBS, NSA, and every other organization who's acronym ends in "A." Or any other letter. Because this is the area of life in which I am the most politically incorrect. They say the true measure of your character is what you do when no one is watching, and if that's true, I'm burnt toast.

Every time I see a story on the news about that family in Arkansas with the couple who have something like 22 children and is always expecting another one I shout horrible obscenities at them. "You psychotic breeders!! Do you know how many children need adopting?!! Can you stop procreating for five minutes and give a homeless baby a home??!!"

Every time I see Sarah Jessica Parker on television I shout, "Hey, Jessica! Why the long face?!" I know. It's horrible and shameful, but I can't help myself. It's a sickness.

And the advertisements for prescription drugs and their potentially dangerous side effects: high blood pressure, low blood pressure, internal bleeding, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, sleep deprivation, thoughts of suicide, kidney failure, liver disease, erectile dysfunction, erection lasting over four hours, vision problems, loss of hearing, back pain, anxiety attacks, muscle pain, swelling of the tongue, joint stiffness, blackouts, vertigo, memory loss, acid reflux. ... On and on, and I always shout at the television, "Give me some side effects I don't already have!!!!"

And I might as well throw my hat into the ring on this one: Every time I see anything on the news about tearing down the Mid-South Coliseum I totally lose it and shout, "What is wrong with you a**holes??? How could you even dare entertain an idea so stupid?! Did you never take psychedelic mood-altering substances and go there to see a David Bowie concert and have it change your life?!"

I know, I know. Not everyone has a history with that building and some people are all caught up in the financial spreadsheets (I hate spreadsheets) that calculate the pros and cons of demolishing it versus renovating it, and I don't think anyone has yet come up with the perfect idea as to what it could become if saved from the wrecking ball. But, come on!  What is the big rush about tearing it down? Who is it hurting? What real danger does it pose? Can we not stop and realize that it has been there for decades and that we should take time to give this some serious thought?

For me, it's a viscerally emotional thing. Every time I drive by, to this day, the sight of the Mid-South Coliseum takes my breath away. I realize that it's just a building, but so is the Empire State Building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Vanderbilt Mansion, Graceland, the Flatiron Building, and the Taj Mahal. If any of those were to become "obsolete" for some reason, would you want them scraped off the face of the earth?

Ever heard the saying, "Memphis has torn down more history than most other cities ever had to begin with?" It's true. Walgreens alone has demolished the original Grisanti's restaurant at Airways and Lamar, the original and historic Leonard's BBQ restaurant at Bellevue and McLemore, and several other landmarks that were part of the very fabric of Memphis.

The city allowed the demolition of the resplendent Hill Mansion on Union Avenue to make way for a Shoney's decades ago. The only remaining reminders of that beautiful home are the stone lion sculptures that were thankfully saved and are now part of the exterior of the Brooks Museum. Can you imagine what downtown would look like if all the Victorian structures surrounding Victorian Village had been saved and preserved like the ones that are still there now?

I know we can't change the past, but can we not be a little more patient regarding the Coliseum? That building has a history and personality so culturally significant I think we should give it a lot more thought.

Besides, if they tear it down, it will give me another reason to scream at the television when they cover its demolition, which is just more information Big Brother will have on me.

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