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Thursday, November 19, 2015

I was hooked on a soap

Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook from KLOS, Los Angeles that Luke and Laura had married on that day in 1981. As of this morning the post has over 850,000 likes, 110,000 comments, and 120,000 shares. Impressive!

I was never a General Hospital fan. But I did get hooked on a different soap, The Young and the Restless, also known as Y&R (or The Hot and the Horny). Here's how. I was in grad school at Georgia Tech in electrical engineering from 1978 to 1981. To pay my bills I had a job at the computer center. When I entered the research phase of my degree, I usually got to the computer center at 4 pm, worked until midnight, and then waited for the computer center to clear out at 2 am when I could get dedicated computer time to run my simulations of noisy channel coding, the topic of my research. At dawn I finished my work, drove home, and went to sleep. I woke up at 1 pm and repeated the cycle. And when I ate breakfast in the early afternoon, the main program on TV was Y&R.

Eventually I left grad school and my hours became conventional again, bringing an end to my Y&R days. In the 35 years since, some Y&R characters have come in and out of the storyline. Some of the actors, too. Many of the fundamentals remain, though. I watch almost no episodic television these days, but when I flip channels and run across Y&R, parts of it look familiar — triggering memories of a time for me that was occasionally happy, often not… like the Y&R storyline itself.