Don’t get me wrong – my dad was a great guy, and I loved him to bits, but, well… he screamed at the television set. *blushes* He did… sort of like it might listen to him, and everything would change. He yelled at the politicians on the news, he would shout encouragement to his team. He never cried at a sad movie (although he did roll his eyes at a lot of what his four daughters watched). The greatest irony of all was watching my dad talk to Archie Bunker as Archie yelled at Walter Cronkite. Thankfully Dad refrained from giving Peter Mansbridge the raspberry (but I can’t say the same about when Brian Mulroney showed up on the set.)
When I think back, my Grandmother used to talk to the television as well. For her, it was her 'stories' that she watched – The Edge of Night and Another World. She would whisper secret warnings to Mac that he shouldn’t trust Rachel, and tell everyone who appeared on the screen that they shouldn’t trust Sandy. She would ‘I told ya so’ and waggle her finger when the truth came out. When were they going to learn? They should have listened to her... or Doctor Welby. He was always right. If someone didn’t listen to him, she would admonish them, and tell them what they were in for.
They were both – my father and my grandmother – very sane people (by my standards). That said, when you are fourteen years old and your friends get to witness these performances, sanity is the last thing you’re thinking.
So, why do we talk to the television? What is it that changes in us as we age, that says it’s okay to carry on a conversation with the flat screen? I don’t talk to my computer. (well, okay, it gets the odd expletive tossed at it when it decides to crash and loses fourteen hours of writing). I certainly don’t talk to Adele when she is singing on my stereo, but I do admit to a bit of drooling when Il Divo has the stage.
I blame... Alisha Florec. She had the total lack of foresight when she kissed Will Gardner. Someone had to tell her what an idiot she was, how it was only going to make a bad situation worse. If that wasn’t bad enough, with that one kiss, she betrayed the alliance she had created with the other fourth-year lawyers who had been totally bitch-slapped by the firm. How could she not see that? She’s supposed to be The Good Wife. The title of the show alone means that she should be at least slightly smart enough to see how stupid she is being. Yes, the character annoyed me… but not just because of what she did on the screen. I was mad because she made me yell at the set. It was something I promised myself I would never do… just like I promised myself to never utter The Curse – ‘just wait till you have kids of your own!’
More recently, though, the political scene on both sides of the 49th have taken a walk on the wild (sic absolutely asinine) side. Frustration, disappointment, disbelief, rage... they all boil up inside and in no time at all, the only thing that separates me from Archie Bunker is the can of beer in my hand and the Meathead on the couch. (Please note that I in no way compared our current palette of news broad-casters with Walter.) If Dad cursed at the set before, I cannot even begin to imagine how blue the air would be now as he had to watch these journalistic buffoons performing contortion acts with the facts.
I have, apparently, reached one more milestone on this migration. While I have always wanted to emulate my parents, because God knows they were good, honest people, there are just some things that should not have been carried along in their genes. I now yell at inanimate objects. I have become quintessentially ‘old’. I pray to God that bowel movement discussions will not be next. I think my kids are praying for that as well.