Here I go, belly-aching again

A couple of my favorite beefs about stuff.

I know I’ve written about this topic a number of times in the past, but it sometimes irks me when I see what preposterous salaries some people make for what to me seem like not very important jobs. I’ve complained a number of times about the ridiculous paychecks that athletes get.

Would it surprise you to know that the two most highly paid athletes in the world are soccer players? Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi make $88 million and $81.4 million, respectively. Lebron James makes $77 million, but only $23 million is salary; the rest is endorsements. Ronaldo makes $56 million in salary; the rest is endorsements. Messi’s salary is $53 million; $28 million is product endorsements.

Who do you think is the highest paid NFL quarterback? Aaron Rodgers? Tom Brady? Can Newton? Eli Manning? Nope. Joe Flacco.

How about actors? A week or so ago, I saw an article that said that three of the actors on “The Big Bang Theory” were getting $1 million per episode of the show. What? At 24 episodes per season, that’s a pretty tidy sum, isn’t it?

Know who the highest paid actor in 2016 was? Duane (“The Rock”) Johnson. Sixty-four million bucks! Wow!

I always like to compare these ridiculous salaries to people who have real jobs. The president of the United States gets $400,000 per year. Those “Big Bang” guys/girls make that in the first 12 minutes of the first show of the season! Put into that context, how ridiculous is the set of values that prescribes these salaries. In my entire 37-year working career as a teacher, I didn’t make $1 million.

Teachers, firemen, policemen, engineers, legislators, judges, doctors, nurses, journalists, farmers, nurses; none of them will ever draw the kind of incomes that athletes and actors can command. Crazy set of values.

So much for that beef. There’s another one that bothers me, too.

So, OK, maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe I’m totally misjudging the “Big Bang.”

In its 10 seasons, I have never watched a complete episode of the show. Every time I try to watch it, I get turned off by the ridiculous laugh track that the producers insist upon sticking in it to tell me what’s funny, rather than letting me decide on my own.

I guess they think the laugh track helps to create the illusion that I am part of a collective audience. People will sometimes laugh – or at least smile – at things in sitcoms they actually don’t find all that amusing, simply because the laugh track tricks them into doing so. They are following the crowd. It doesn’t work for me. It just turns me off. It must work for other viewers of the “Big Bang,” though, because it continues to rack up audiences and awards.

I don’t watch much TV live, but sometimes I surf to see what’s on. On Mondays on CBS, I found that there are four sitcoms in a row, all of which utilize laugh tracks. No CBS for me, thanks. My favorite sitcom? “Modern Family.” No laugh track.

I’m fully aware that my single voice crying in the vast wasteland is not going to make any difference in any of these areas, so I’ll shut up now, but it’s a free country, right? And to each his own.

Roger VanHaren can be reached at at