One of the innumerable hazards of a newspaper career is that people are always coming up to you and asking whether "Lou Grant" is accurate.
My problem is that I don't know.
I never watch Lou and Friends, because they always seem to be saving the world on CBS at the same time ABC is presenting Monday Night Football or Baseball.
And to this former third baseman and quarterback, a double steal or an end sweep is next to godliness.
But after last Monday, I will never have this problem again.
Howard Cosell has pushed me firmly and finally into the arms of Ed. Asner.
It doesn't even faze me that this is the Redskins' one and only Monday night appearance of the season. It's still Howard, and it's still horrid.
I don't blame Cosell for the fact that last week's "Epic" was a 14-10 yawner in which the major question was whether the audience was going to stay awake.
No, the problem with Howard is simple. He not only doesn't know what he's talking about; he is proving it by resorting more and more to television jargon.
Now, I know it's hardly new for a newspaper fulminator to cast an impolite glance at Cosell. Ripping the most famous Brooklyn accent in television history has kept shoes on the feet of columnists' children for nearly a decade. It hasn't exactly ruined the insteps of Howard's offspring, either.
But most previous Cosell rips have centered around Howard's use of $10 words when two-bit words will do. I say that isn't categorically bad.
Cosell's oversyllabic approach has obvious value when he conducts a pregame interview, or narrates highlight films.
In the interviewer role, Cosell is often provocative where other microphone-shovers are pussycats. Nothing wrong with that.
In the narrator role, H.C. is a lot more entertaining that those sports voices that sound as if they were just pureed in a Cuisinart.
My gripe is with Cosell's continuing and growing use of "inside" technological talk.
He constantly refers to "the top of the show," or to "the story line that Dandy set out."
Meanwhile, he always calls those little statistical displays they flash by their jargony name: "graphics." And he is the first to banter about director Chet Forte's former basketball career -- when all those slackjawed viewers out there thought they had tuned in a football game.
What it comes down to is that Howard's getting lazy.
He doesn't have the discipline to separate the on-the-air Howard from the "I'm-talking-to-the-control-truck Howard. He isn't bearing in mind how little most viewers know -- or care -- about television terminology.
I'm well aware that the "in" thing to do these days is to watch ABC's picture, but to render Cosell inaudible and to flick on Jack Buck's play-by-play on the radio.
I tried that last week in the second half. The only thing I achieved was anger.
I couldn't find a free plug, and because my radio was in reality a clock-radio, it lost four minutes as I groped around on the floor.
Then, as I was roaming the room on hands and knees, Atlanta scored the winning touchdown. So, no thanks. Lou Grant it is.
I'm only afraid of one thing. What if tonight's script has Lou talking about "dropheads," "italic precedes," "jumplines" and "scoops?"
What's that you say? A Dorothy Lamour movie on Channel 5?
No old quarterback should have to endure that. * * *
The man's voice could be heard by some of my Post playmates who sit three rows away. The subject was smoke detectors for owners of homes in the District of Columbia. The danger was fraud.
The man said he had gotten a call the other day from someone with a "very imperious voice" who said that smoke detectros had to be installed in all D.C. homes right away. Naturally, for a fee, the caller offered to do so.
My anonymous friend, who knows a hustler when he hears one, ended up hanging up on the man.
But he wondered if Mr. Imperious might not be spinning his spiel at others. So he suggested that The District Line make the new D.C. smoke detector regulations clear.
D.C. homeowners have until Oct. 1, 1981, to fit their homes with smoke detectors (although city fire officials urge homeowners not to wait).
Detectors can be either electric or battery-operated.A detector must be installed in every room used for lseeping (although fire officials urge homeowners to place at least one on every level of a house).
Violators of the 1981 deadline will face a fine of $300, or a jail term of 10 days, or both. More information on the new law is available from the fire department's community relations office, 745-2347.
Bill Gold is on vacation. His column will resume on his return.