Matlock is on at 10:30 a.m.
Andy Griffith is explaining how someone at an insurance company perpetrated fraud by creating a series of fake death certificates.
A row of assisted-living residents are watching, most from wheelchairs. Will this be comforting for them, or will they wonder: Has my paper trail gone cold too? Who is scamming my early demise?
A row of them, all lined up. Some cannot hold up their heads, but they’re still pointed in the direction of Matlock.
A resident here once told me that nobody ever comes to visit her. That’s the only reason a place like this can truly be sad. The building is clean, cheerful, in fact a historic former hotel, from back when pink stucco could look halfway dignified. Humphrey Bogart once stayed here. The staff is great, too. Sometimes there’s a dearth of non-staff showing up, but there are Matlock and bingo and shopping trips. The annual holiday buffet brings a few more of ‘em in, the Christmas mass of visiting a dying relative.
“If I could go back, I’d have 12 sons,” the woman told me last year around Thanksgiving. “Then they’d all come to visit me.”
Today it was Matlock. Another time it was an unknown thriller involving all over-55 women and men of the Members Only jacket-wearing age. Rather, past the Members Only jacket-wearing age but still spry enough to fool themselves a little.