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Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Herb Benham

Every other Wednesday, I am on KBAK Eyewitness News for the noon show. The interview, which previews whatever scintillating columns I might be working on, lasts about two minutes. It allows me to escape keyboard hypnosis and peek behind the scenes at the glamorous world of TV news personalities before retreating once again to my lonely cubicle.

Tom Murphy is the noon anchor and has been for the last year or so. I've chatted with a string of TV reporters through the years -- most women so comely that I find myself hyperventilating on TV and unable to draw a decent breath in their presence.

"Mabel, that man sounds like he's going to have a heart attack."

"Is that why his lips are purple? Somebody should tell him to breathe because if he doesn't, not even a pretty girl can bring him back."

Recently we talked about "Downton Abbey," a show I began watching a month ago. In addition to saying how good the show was, I announced that from here forward, I wanted to be referred to as Lord Benham, since everybody in Downton Abbey" had a title, and I felt like I deserved one.

Tom and I were joined by Courtney Bryant. Courtney liked "Downton Abbey." She had an interest in Matthew Crawley, one of the heartthrob characters. If possible, Courtney was even more enthusiastic about the show than I was. Tom hadn't seen a single episode and was probably turned off by its stuffy sounding name, "Downton Abbey," which doesn't reflect the fun and entertaining deviousness of some of the characters.

Tom sat on the middle stool, moderating as it were, this lively discussion about one of TV's best offerings."Isn't it great that people from different generations can appreciate the show?" he said.

Say what? "Different generations." What's that mean? We're all in the same club, aren't we? I don't remember being asked to surrender my membership.

Wasn't this like the beach? No one ages at the beach. The teenagers, the college students, the young mothers, the older couples, the 50ish surfers. They're the same every year.

TV is like that, too. There is always a new crop of TV personalities. They don't get older and since they don't and we sit together, why should I?

"Different generations?" If that wasn't damning enough, Tom's inflection made it sound like the "different generations" were not next to one another. Sandwiched in between Courtney's and mine might be a third generation.

I beg your pardon. Are you calling me grandpa, son? Lord Benham does not like to be called Grandpa, especially in the absence of grandchildren.

When you see grandchildren, you can call me grandpa. In the meantime, look at me like a partner, someone who can run to LA with you to see a Dodger game, eat afterwords in a Korean barbecue in Baldwin Park and then drive home at 3 a.m. and wake up the day next fresh and crisp.

We finished the segment. I shook Tom's hand and wished Courtney good day. I went home and took a nap.

That's what grandpas do, especially those in different generations.

These are Herb Benham's opinions and not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at