Not only did ABC just cancel long-running soap operas (soaps opera?) “One Life to Live” and “All My Children,” but it’s almost tax day! Could things possibly get any worse? To answer that question, and other, equally pressing and less rhetorical questions, a Q&A.

Q: I just read that they canceled “All My Children.” Is this another hyperbolical headline about budget cuts impacting Planned Parenthood?

A: I don’t know why you always bring up Planned Parenthood during the Q & A. And hyperbolical statements are statements in the form of the graph of a quadratic function.

Q: Why would you say a thing like that?

A: Sorry. The answer is no. “All My Children” is a soap opera that was recently canceled, along with “One Life to Live.”

Q: They canceled “One Life to Live”?

A: Yes, resulting in a headline, “One Life to Live and All My Children Canceled,” that seems like the combination of everyone’s worst fears about the budget cuts.

Q: Why does it matter that these shows are canceled? I never watched them.

A: Oh, believe me, it matters. Marx called religion the opiate of the masses —

Q: That wasn’t very nice of him and I’m not sure why you’re bringing it up.

A: But an opiate wouldn’t make you want to knock on people’s doors and persuade them to sign up for things, or speak in tongues, or go out and provide help to those in need, or give up regular opiates and try to live a better life. That’s what stimulants do.

Q: Oh?

A: I mean, I assume. No, if you want a real opiate, try watching “One Life to Live.” There are so many plots that you can’t leave the house, ever, in case you might miss whose uncle everyone really was. It makes you feel better about your life in a vague way, and it guarantees that your grandmother won’t wander the streets making videos in which she sings about her uterus.

Q: What?

A: Yes.

Q: But that was made before they canceled it.

A: My point exactly! If grandmothers in Florida would get together to sing a song about their uteri BEFORE two major daytime scripted shows were canceled, imagine what they’ll do now! This is why we needed “One Life to Live.”

Q: Are they replacing it with anything?

A: They’re replacing it with two unscripted lifestyle shows, called “Chew” and “The Revolution,” which apparently follows a woman around for five months while she tries to lose weight.

Q: Why don’t they just take away the camera? They say the camera adds 10 pounds.

A: I’m sure that’s a last resort.

Q: Who would watch those?

A: I wouldn’t, unless I were physically unable to get up and change the channel. Fortunately, that’s a demographic among which “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” traditionally do well.

Q: What was the big deal about these shows?

A: They reminded you of the preciousness of time and the almost Proustian entanglement of our friendships and cousinships and nieceships and evil twinships, and they introduced Kelly Ripa to us. Or something. I don’t know, I was an English major, so I’m contractually obligated to work the phrase “almost Proustian entanglement” into conversation at least once every six months or they come replace it with a more useful degree.

Q: I’m pretty sure you are making that up.

A: Have you noticed how few opportunities there are for evil twins in showbiz these days? They used to be everywhere, and now you only see them ironically. Like those serial-killer-style glasses from the 1980s.

Q: I’m supposed to be the one asking the questions.

A: Duly noted.

Q: Can you explain taxes to me?

A: I will do that tomorrow. When are those due?


A: No, I thought there was a holiday or something. Just in case, taxes are the government’s way of saying, “We don’t have enough money, and now, neither do you.”

Q: That sounds oddly simplistic.

A: It is. Another fairly simplistic way of putting it is that they can be used to discourage certain behaviors like smoking or Being Too Rich.

Q: How rich is too rich?

A: If I were able to answer that question, I would not be here right now. I would be off somewhere regulating and people would be accusing me of discouraging entrepreneurship.

Q: What happens if I fail to pay my taxes on time and accurately?

A: You will be put in jail for decades and charged with racketeering. At least, that is what happened to Al Capone when he did that.

Q: I am not Al Capone.

A: Of course you aren’t.