Friday, May 15, 2009

The stranger in our home

Everyone has this stranger in their homes.
I'm concerned that he's been distracting Ethan and Ewan in the mornings and on weekends.
Have to take the boys outdoors more often.

"The Stranger in My Home"

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town.
From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family.
In my young mind, he had a special niche.
My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey.
But the stranger... he was our storyteller.
He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future!
He took my family to the first football game.
He made me laugh, and he made me cry.
The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet.
(Sometimes she would lock him up in his room to keep me away from him)
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them.
Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home...
not from our friends, any visitors or us.
Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. (but my Dad did tell me those were words that I should NEVER use)
My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol.
But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis.
He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely (much too freely) about sex.
His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... and NEVER asked to leave.
More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first.
Still, if you could walk into my parents' living room today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name?....
We just call him by his initials, "TV."
He has a younger sister now.
We call her "Computer" or PC for short.


ajoyly said...

One thing good about TV, it brought all the events in the world into the living room. The bad side is that nobody wants to sit in the dining table any longer to have their meals. They prefer sitting on the sofa with their eyes glued to the TV. It was unlike now where even TV has turned organic - called plasma. It is only a matter of time before it becomes human. That's saying a lot about the evolution of this thing which started as a box with a tube.

masterwordsmith said...

Very good post!

I must confess in my family, we hardly ever watch television...cos we are net/book addicts...yet, it binds us together cos we sit together doing our individual activities during our private time...times when we are quiet and times when we just talk or laugh.

And the best thing is, it can only happen in the family.

Having said that, I have to admit that the pc has influenced our lives in bot good and bad ways, most noticeably in the lives of many students who are weak in thinking skills...

Take care and God bless you.

Tiger said...

My mother called it the "idiot box". And for good reason.
And I wasn't kidding when I said she locked "him" up.
Those days in the 70s, the TV was encased in a wooden cabinet, which COULD be locked with a small key.
I was 5 then, and wondered why "he" wouldn't open up for me.