Monday, May 7, 2018

The stranger...

When I was in first grade, my Dad met a stranger who was new in town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated by this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with us. He was quickly accepted, and as I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. My parents were a good team: Mom taught me right from wrong and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours with his adventures. If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers. He even seemed able to predict the future! He took me and my family to our first major league ball game.He often made me laugh, and sometimes cry. He almost never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind. Now and then, Mom would get up while we were shushing each other to hear what the stranger was saying. She'd go into the kitchen for peace and quiet.

Dad ruled our house with firm moral convictions. We were never allowed to swear, but our long-time visitor got away with four-letter words that made Mom blush. Dad wouldn't let us smoke or drink, but the stranger made cigarettes look cool and encouraged us to sample some liquor. He also talked freely about sex. These comments were often suggestive and always embarrassing. But let me be honest. I now know that all my early concepts about relationships were influenced by our stranger. He taught me what it really means to "be a man" or to "be a woman." Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked and NEVER asked to leave.

More than 50 years have passed since he moved in with us. He's not nearly as fascinating as he once was. But if you walk into my parents' den, you'll still see him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to talk to. What's his name?

We just call him TV.

Did I mention that he got married a few years ago? His wife's name is Computer. They just had a baby named Smartphone, and she's even more fun than her parents.

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