You're settling in for a relaxing evening. The first cocktails of the day have been poured. But no, you have entered television's answer to a Dante's media inferno of lies, innuendo and prevarication.
It was all mildly amusing a few weeks ago. But after the 357th repeat of political advertising darkly hinting a candidate is a member of the Manson family you begin to think injecting the gin intravenously has some genuine merit.
"Alex Sink calls herself a banker. Balderdash! What Alex Sink doesn't tell you is that she was responsible for the Great Depression, the Irish potato famine and the Black Plague. Don't even think about voting for Alex Sink if you know what's good for you. You've been warned.
This advertisement paid for by the Committee for Responsible Paranoia."
Let's make the next one a double — forget the ice.
"Rick Scott will steal your child's lemonade stand money. This guy has taken the Fifth more often than Santo Trafficante. He is a walking grassy knoll of venality. If you vote for Rick Scott, you will die a slow painful death.
"This advertisement paid for by Citizens to Scare the Living Bejabbers Out of You."
Right about now, the story NBC's Brian Williams is reporting about the end of the world seems pretty uplifting.
"Do you know why Marco Rubio hates immigrants? He's really French. His real name is Marcel Renault. If you believe the French are horrible people who despise Americans who visit Paris by insisting on speaking French rather than good old American stuff, then don't vote for the secret French guy.
"This advertisement paid for by the Committee for Delusional Jingoism."
At last! A respite! An escape! The phone rings.
"Hi. This is Kathy Castor with another annoying robo-message to interrupt all those hideous television commercials you've been watching. I just called to bother you because I have tons of money and I'm going to win this congressional election anyway since I have a safer legislative district than Vladimir Putin. Don't even try to hang up on me because I'm going to keep talking anyway.
"This phone message paid for by Americans Committed to Irritating People at All Hours of the Day."
Brian Williams has just taken note of a Bangladesh bus crash that killed 120 people. You begin to think it might make for a nice Christmas card.
"Charlie Crist claims he is an independent. But this is a man who wears dress shirts with collars that look to be three times too large for him. Can you trust a candidate who looks like a turtle? Don't we already have enough reptiles in Washington? It's just a thought.
"This paid political advertisement brought to you by Patriots for a More Gullible America."
You have a brilliant idea. If you fill up the entire kitchen sink with vodka, you can just stick your head all the way down to the drain until the news is over. It might work.
"Hello, my name is Karl Marx and I just wanted you to know that when I wrote The Communist Manifesto, I dedicated it to my close personal friend and poker buddy, Kendrick Meek. Oh, I remember many a grand night when Kendrick, that crazy nut Freddie Engels and me would sit around doing hilarious impersonations of Lenin. Please vote for my comrade-in-borscht Kendrick Meek.
"This paid political announcement brought to you by the Tail-Gunner Joe McCarthy Foundation."
The phone rings again. You pray it is a credit card company looking for your monthly payment. No such luck.
"This is Democrat Scott Maddox calling. You probably have no idea who I am, but I have run for just about every office in the state of Florida except Jim Norman's state Senate district. Darn! I wish I would have thought of that one. At any rate, I'm now running to become agriculture commissioner, a position I'm clearly qualified for because I once put a tomato plant in my back yard.
"This piece of political huckstering brought to you by The Harold Stassen Institute for Desperate Politicians Who Need a Job."
You're thinking of maybe turning the channel to HBO, which is airing Rosemary's Baby, because you could use some cheering up.
"Hello, I'm Rick Scott's mother. And even though that scamp ran a company that engaged in the largest Medicare fraud in American history, I'm supposed to tell you he's a good boy. I have to say that because if I don't the checks will stop.
"This paid political announcement is brought to you by the Foundation for Politicians Who Shamelessly Schlep Their Relatives Before Cameras to Shill for Them."
The phone rings — again. You start rummaging around to find that old prescription for Percodan.