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Coda • GREG BEAN

Ifigure there’ll be a lot of upsides to getting this never-ending election over with — and one of the best things will be getting my History Channel back.

Longtime readers will remember the outrage I felt (an outrage shared by many) when Comcast took my History Channel away early this year as part of their “upgrade” in services. All of a sudden, you couldn’t get the History Channel on regular cable anymore; you needed one of their complicated converter boxes. And they’ll also remember that I wrote about my frustration in trying to navigate the company’s phone tree and getting a straight answer out of customer service about whether I needed one of the darned boxes or not.

That problem was resolved, happily, when a nice young man from Comcast came to my house to install a converter box and made sure everything worked, including the History Channel. My bliss was, unfortunately, short-lived. There I was one evening a few months ago, watching a program about how drumsticks are made, or maybe watching people search for monster hogs in Alabama, when my wife plopped herself down in the living room and commandeered the remote control.

“How can you watch this esoteric garbage when there’s election news on CNN?” she asked. “If you’re watching this, we’re missing Rachel Maddow.”

And thus began my long season of election coverage hell. I don’t think I’m breaking any marital covenants when I say that the bride is a tad compulsive when it comes to television viewing.

If she’s on a British mystery kick, then that’s what we watch every night until the Brits run out of mystery. If she’s watching “24,” she gets a whole season from Netflix, and that’s what we watch until the whole 24 hours is over. Then we start a whole new day. When she was watching “Lost,” we watched so many episodes back to back that we spent more time in front of the tube watching “Lost” than the main characters spent lost and marooned on the island. If she’s watching “Clean House” or “Curb Appeal” on HGTV, I start getting nervous because she begins talking about new paint for the walls, and that would lead to new carpets, furniture and appliances, and complete financial ruin.

I know how those things go, like a runaway train. A few years ago, she came home from the bed-and-bath place with two new throw pillows, and I had to buy a new couch to go with the pillows, and new carpet to go with the couch, and new paint for the walls to match the carpet, couch and pillows, and …

You get the picture. So not only does watching HGTV every night for a month when she’s on one of her kicks make me nervous about my financial welfare, it’s a scientific fact (I read it on the Internet) that watching that stuff for an hour kills more brain cells than a whole bottle of Kentucky bourbon.

But as I said, we haven’t been watching that for months because we’ve been watching election coverage. However, I’m getting a little sick of the pundits and “experts” covering the election. I like them all in small doses, but it’s like having dinner guests who won’t take the hint that it’s time to leave. Benjamin Franklin noted that fish and visitors begin to smell in three days, and after more than six months, these folks are getting positively putrid.

I’m sure Gloria Borger is a nice enough person, but I’m tired of having her in my living room every night. And Campbell Brown is as cute as a bug’s ear, but come on — even she’s wearing a little thin. I keep hoping she’ll develop a big old oozing pimple on her chin just to provide comic relief and a change of pace.

And while I like Wolf Blitzer well enough (he did a great job of covering the invasion of Iraq, for example), he’s got a few verbal tics that began driving me bonkers about two months ago. I noticed, for example, that he says “uh” a lot. A whole lot.

“And today uh, Barack, uh, Obama, uh, spoke to a crowd of thirty five, uh, thousand, uh, people who were disappointed, uh, because they came to Coors Field in Denver, uh, expecting a Colorado, uh, Rockies game, uh, and got a politician instead.”

I didn’t mind it so much at first, but it started to grate on my nerves after a month. Then, it took a turn for the truly weird when I started saying uh myself. At first, I was just saying uh to make fun of Wolf Blitzer, but then I started dong it unconsciously all the time. At the point I yelled at our dog “Molly, uh,” to “get, uh, off the couch, uh,” my wife took me by the elbows and looked deeply into my eyes. “Did the doctor increase your medication today?” she asked.

“No,” I said. “I’m not stoned. I just think Wolf Blitzer’s annoying verbal tics have had a damaging effect on my brain function.”

“Sometimes you are truly strange,” she said. Then she ignored me for about a week because Keith Olbermann was on, and after his show was Rachel Maddow, who seems like a bright young woman, but who has a very curious hairdo. You’d think someone on national television would spend the money to get her hair done by someone besides the corner barber who coiffed Sam Spade. She uses less Brilliantine or Alberto VO5 than Sam used in those old movies, but you have to admit there are similarities.

So I’ve had about enough of her, too. In fact, I’ve had about enough of all of them.

Saturday night, after the wife went to bed, I turned the clocks back and realized I had a whole extra hour to kill. I felt about as guilty as if I were watching porn on the sly, but I turned on the History Channel, and there was a show profiling all of our nation’s presidents, including my personal favorites Grover Cleveland, Chester Arthur (a real clothes horse with some swell muttonchop sideburns), Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge (whose role in the destruction of the American economy reminds me a lot of George W. Shrub Bush).

I was in heaven. And I was doubly excited by the prospect that after the election, I’d be able to do this every night. Unless, of course, she commandeers the remote and starts watching HGTV again. Then I’ll probably need psychotherapy and stronger medication.

Gregory Bean is executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers. You can reach him at gbean@gmnews.com.