I remember growing up, watching my dad watch television... well, ‘watching’ might be the wrong word. He would yell at it. He would correct the news anchor about the proper pronunciation of a name. He would tell the quarterback what play to make and who to make it to. He would call the weatherman an idiot. I even remember, yes, him gathering us around the television set, demanding absolute silence, on August 8th, 1974, to listen to Richard Milhous Nixon resign as President of the United States. He demanded absolute silence... from us. Dad, however, made sure the errant POTUS was perfectly clear about the truth as Dad saw it. How do I remember this? It was just one of those things that was permanently stamped in my brain, but I also have a cassette tape with the speech on it, taken while I had to hold the little microphone up to the set through the whole damned thing, wishing the stupid asshole would just say he was a crook and a criminal and he was pulling the pin. My dad knew this would be a historic moment. He had no idea that, forty years later, it would be available to anyone at the touch of a computer key.
Now, don’t get me going on politics. When Dad watched politics on the television, it was just safer to go in the kitchen and start washing the dishes, or folding laundry. You did NOT want to vacuum floors... because he couldn’t hear over the vacuum to know what to yell at them, although something tells me he would have managed. My dad was passionate, and he had expectations, and television brought into his living room the epitome of stupidity every night. For me, however, there was no need to make a sound when watching... because you might miss something that one of Charlie’s Angels said as they solved the case, or you might not hear the cheap shot that Hutch was taking at Starsky. Television was to be watched, absorbed, and treasured, because you only got an hour or two a day, if there was anything worth watching on those two precious channels. I knew, though, without doubt, I would NEVER talk to the damned set.
Televisions have changed. They are bigger and flatter and clearer, and Lord knows, we have a lot more channels, which equates to a whole lot more crap to watch. I am not sure if it was during those pregnant years, when you have your feet up and General Hospital on the set that it happens. One day, you are quietly watching something on the old idiot box, and the next, you are screaming at Holly to not trust that bastard, Robert, because he is sleeping with Anna and she is nothing but trouble. “Don’t do it, Holly! He’s a slime! Hot... but a slime just the same!” It sneaks up on you... a comment at a soap opera, then the weatherman telling you to expect sunshine, while little rivers run down the picture window pane. How can you NOT scream at him for that? ‘Open your god damned window, you moron!’
To be fair to my father, I know he was concerned. He cared what was happening. He wanted his politicians to be honest, his bankers to be fair. He understood the intricacies of political debate and campaign mud-slinging, which, at my delicate, innocent young age I simply could not grasp. Now, however, I grasp just fine, and I have to say, those idiots on the television drive me crazy. The stupid crooks, the lying politicians, the slime-dogs and whore-wanna-be starlets who flash their panties at us, and i cannot leave out those incredibly annoying Viagra commercials and the Cialis bathtub shit (what the hell is that about anyways)... it is impossible to watch and NOT scream at them. To be totally honest, with the wisdom we have now gained, the insight, the retrospect, the chops we have cut, those stupid bastids should start listening to us. If they listened, they would hear the answer to how to fix the economy, they would know to put some decent clothes on that don’t show the crack of their ass (because seriously, it ain’t all that attractive, unless you are talking Antonio Banderas), they would know it was a stupid time to bunt, and that umpire would have made the proper call and not the dumbass one he did make. The grubs laugh, or roll their eyes, or make their smart little digs, but I know better. I know that soon enough, they too will be screaming at the set, and sharing their wisdom. It’s inevitable.