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The Oprah-Calypse Is Nigh

Originally published in Farrago, Edition 7, 2011.

Startling statistics reveal the world is not coping well with the retirement of the daytime Queen of talk, Oprah Winfrey. A recent study details troubling behavioural patterns emerging in previously law abiding citizens. The report, released by The B.S. Institute in California, has shocked the world.

Only three months have elapsed since the last episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show went to air in the US on 25 May. Since then, anarchy and criminal activity have become especially prevalent in middle-aged women aged 44-65, with similar results appearing in Western countries around the globe. The report—entitled “Daytime Transference: An Oprah Withdrawal”—suggests that Winfrey’s die-hard viewers have turned to crime due to post-traumatic stress.

A lack of giveaways is cited as the main cause to the increase in looting and shoplifting by the suburban middle-aged soccer mums. Dr. Everett McEverett—a prominent researcher from The B.S. Institute—explains that “seeing the live audience members given free items allowed impressionable and vulnerable audiences at home to live vicariously. After the Oprah show concluded, these citizens were propelled off a symbolic cliff and into a canyon of criminal behaviour.”

McEverett believes that the lack of moral televisual presence has also led to other increased criminal activity. Charlene Finkle of Bullock County, Alabama, and three of her nine sisters were arrested and charged for multiple counts of grand theft auto and grand larceny. The sisters allegedly broke into a local car dealership and stole 19 cars with intentions of distributing them to the local elementary school teachers.

Rampant lawlessness evidenced across major metropolitan cities is not the only troubling statistic revealed in the report. Oprah’s departure has led to significant worldwide economic losses, affecting retail store owners most drastically. The stock market is also noticeably affected. Shares in Kimberly-Clark have plummeted, which is believed to be a symptom of the 1700% loss in Kleenex tissue sales.

As the world mourns and grieves the loss of a daytime deity, so too do the owners of companies, corporations and institutions across the globe. But not all are upset. Counsellors, psychiatrists and psychologists in New York alone have reported upwards of $5 million per week in additional revenue.

Here are some other shocking statistics revealed in the report (note that it is recommended one is sitting when reading the findings.)

  • 689 weekly Oprah-related support groups have been created in the United Kingdom. The most commonly attended group is named OA: Opraholics Anonymous. The group is continually expanding and saw over 2,000 people in attendance at their last meeting.
  • An estimated rise of 33% of people aged 14-49 are in therapy in Tasmania, most being treated for what psychologists have named “Oprah-Watch”—an untreatable compulsive repeat viewing syndrome.
  • Jenny Craig has reported a loss of 66% of customers in the last few months. A spokesman referred to the trimming as uncomfortable. Perhaps as uncomfortable as seeing former client Kirstie Alley forming her own weight loss company.
  • 49,345,431 less tears have been shed on a weekly basis in the Mid-East of the United States.
  •  Automotives sales are down a whopping 45% over the last quarter. Reports reveal that Oprah’s influence was so grand that anytime she gave away a car, that model would sell out in a matter of hours. This also relates to the global automotive industry, internationally proving Oprah’s car selling power.
  • Upholstery businesses claim a significant loss over the last quarter. Businesses reveal that any appearance of Tom Cruise on Oprah always provided for a quick boost in sales. Industry heavyweights say that businesses cannot simply rely on reruns to sustain their futures.
  • Book sales are down 1600% thanks to Oprah’s Book Club not being on air. Sales still continue for her previous book club selections, but it is clear that air time for books meant money for the publishing industry.
  • 43 published authors reveal that they fabricated their memoirs. Authors were previously closeted and fearful of coming out to the world after seeing writer James Frey harshly reprimanded on Oprah. It was revealed that his memoir A Million Little Pieces was indeed a million little lies.
  • 4,379 pairs of eardrums have had partial hearing restored. Auditory nerves have miraculously redeveloped due to a decrease in average television decibels. This is solely due to the lack of celebrity names being shouted on a daily basis by Ms. Winfrey.
  • Each Oprah viewer has saved 48 hours in any given three month period purely based on decreased Beyoncé appearances alone.
  • Television recruits Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil and Suze Orman have had their respective shows cancelled. Oprah’s best friend Gayle King has also filed bankruptcy. It seems no one cared what these straight-talking visionaries had to say without Oprah justifying their existence.
  • 6 out of 10 women now report having more time and energy to have sex with their husbands. When Oprah aired, the most common reason women avoided sex was that that they had to watch Oprah, or they were too exhausted from watching Oprah.

Future forecasts see retailers across the US preparing for the worst. Estimates from the Department of Institutional Christmas Sales (DICS) reveal a predicted loss of 3000% in revenue, with Winfrey’s Favourite Things episodes cited as a leading factor. Reports in the United Kingdom reveal similar findings.

Millions of viewers across the world proclaimed Winfrey as a life changing inspiration. Finkle, interviewed at the Women’s Correctional Facility in Bullock County, noted that “every day at 4pm, she [Winfrey] was there for me. Now … [hysterical wailing and sobbing] I just don’t know how to fill the void.” The survival of Western civilisation joins Finkle in her fears.