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Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles Times

March 30, 2004

On the Outs, and Loving Every Minute
Why should we care about staying current?

    Betty Rollin;  
Betty Rollin is the author of "First, You Cry" (HarperCollins,1976) and "Last Wish" (Perseus Books, 1985) and a contributing correspondent for PBS.
Editorial Pages Desk

Edition: Home Edition
Section: California
Page: B-13

    Index Terms:

Estimated printed pages:

Article Text:
It's spring and I have a new goal. I am trying to be more "out of it." The very phrase, "out of it," is out of it, so I am off to a good start. The other reason I am optimistic is that, if truth be told, I have been out of it for a while, but I'm just now turning it into something I want to be, instead of something I don't want to be.

  For example, in the past I've felt a bit foolish having never seen the TV shows "The Sopranos" or "Sex and the City" -- the reason being that no matter how well done they were/are alleged to be, they sound trashy to me. I was never inclined to make the acquaintance of mobsters, even those who regularly have their heads shrunk. And I was somehow less than curious to learn about the sex habits of women who wore very high heels. In fact, we don't have HBO, which I know our friends in New York, where we live, think is odd.
I say "we." Yes, my husband is in this with me. Since he is a math

professor, he has had a really good start. I don't know whether you know any mathematicians, but if you mention, say, J.Lo to a mathematician, he is likely to think you are talking about something red that is refrigerated. I know who J.Lo is, but I don't want to know. In fact, she is largely responsible for my new goal because I decided that something is wrong with my life if I know who she is or isn't on the verge of marrying. And it's not just J.Lo. It's everyone in showbiz. I have nothing against them personally. I just feel my head can absorb just so much information and, now that I'm getting older, I'm pickier about what's in there.

  I confess I got somewhat hooked by the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" show on TV (which may be "in it" in some social worlds but is wildly out of it in mine), but we have never seen "Friends," "Everybody Loves Raymond" or any of those other people everyone loves. Nor have we seen any of those reality shows, except once for five minutes. I don't know about you, but my life is too short for even five minutes of Donald Trump.

  We do go to the movies now and then and have a nice time. But that's because we don't see any of the movies you're supposed to see. I saw previews of some of the Oscar winners, for example -- and, although they seemed awfully well done, they looked upsetting.

  My husband and I are also united on the sports front. He has a passing interest in University of Wisconsin football games -- his alma mater -- but there it ends. I have never been to a professional game -- not football, not basketball, not baseball. I've noticed we can get away with virtually zero interest in sports in New York, but not in the rest of the country, where you run the risk of not only being out of it but being thought weird and snooty.

  This is not only about show business and sports, however. (I may be about to lose you here.) We don't have a car. Partly that's because of living in New York, but not entirely, because many