Death is the Mother of Beauty
by David Shields
At 3 a.m.:

On channel 2, a movie-detective revisits the murder scene.

On channel 4, RetinA entraps tretinoin in Microsponge systems.

On channel 7, college girls on vacation in Cancun remove their T-shirts.

On channel 8, the Civil War is re-enacted.

On channel 10, Garrett Anderson wins the Home Run Derby.

On channel 11, Double D Dolls mud-wrestle.

On channel 12, a university lecturer explains gravity.

On channel 13, the Faith/Health/Prosperity bracelet glitters in the light.

On channel 17, a woman does leg-raises.

On channel 20, taffy and ice cream production facilities are profiled.

On channel 22, fat-free desserts taste as good as regular desserts.

On channel 24, seventy-nine people die in a plane crash; an infant is the lone survivor.

On channel 29, Hercules tosses an enormous boulder.

On channel 30, Miss USA is crowned.

On channel 33, you can develop smart abs in just 2 minutes a day.

On channel 36, Dr. Ellen's Light His Fire and Light Her Fire programs help your marriage by increasing your energy.

On channel 38, a woman whose teenager daughter died in a car crash finds solace in God's love, as expressed on a CD available for $14.95.

On channel 41, Laci Peterson's body is autopsied.

On channel 42, the crossbow offers compound resistance.

On channel 47, Aquafresh toothpaste removes stains.

On channel 49, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America help you harness your power to fight cancer and win.

On channel 55, two buxom blonde women explain to a thin, balding man why size matters.

On channel 59, the Slim-in-6 Fitness program will help you lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks.

On channel 63, the Ultimate Chopper is the ultimate time saver.

On channel 64, the Esteem skin-care system reduces wrinkles, lines, and blotchiness.

On channel 72, the Arthur Ashe Award is given to a terminally ill coach who advises the audience to never give up.

On channel 77, a woman is penetrated from behind by one man while she performs fellatio on another man.

On channel 80, the Youth Cocktail gives you sharper, clearer memory and more flexible joints.

On channel 84, two behemoths compete to pull an enormous ball-and-chain across the finish line.

On channel 85, a suicide bomber kills himself and six U.S. soldiers in Fallujah.

On channel 87, Hair Color for Men gets the gray out.

On channel 89, "With long life will I satisfy Him and show Him my salvation."

On channel 90, you can have the makeover of a lifetime.

On channel 94, Hollywood's Hottest Body Shots is available for only $19.95.

On channel 95, Hollywood celebrities pay $24,000 for Mari Windsor's body-sculpting program.

On channel 99, a horror movie ends with a white curtain blowing in the breeze against a black night.

On channels 2-99, the viewer seeks but can't find a cure for the fact that one day he'll die.