Are you a product of the 80’s and 90’s who was raised on at least six hours of quality programming a day, like me? Were Saturday mornings the best part of the week? Was the TV considered a family member ranking slightly below the dog, and just above parents and siblings? Has TV ever felt like a good friend – a best friend – the only friend – the only friend in a cold, unforgiving world that has forsaken you? Do you believe this post will be seriously dated and pointless, because it’s about TV? Want to explore a hypothetical situation if for no other reason than to break this god awful chain of rhetorical questions? Me neither, but I think it’s for the best.
Hypothetically speaking, let’s just say you and Television are good buds. Spending most of your free time together, you go from good buds to very close friends. Eventually the two of you become as close as can be, but something is off.
You think about how funny and witty TV used to be. TV used to sing about Egyptian history while juggling torches on a tight rope , and now it just lies on the couch telling the same fart jokes over and over, when it’s not being verbally abusive. Television asserts that it has never insulted you personally, which is technically true, but it does invite its friends over in the form of commercials who complain about how ugly they look in an attempt to lower your self esteem, so that you buy products they sell to correct these issues that don’t really exist! You take a deep breath, and remember it is not right to blame or vilify Television. TV is not the problem. Your needs are changing, and there is nothing wrong with that. You wonder how Books is doing.
Picking up a photo of Books kept hidden away, locked in a dusty picture frame, you can’t even remember why you lost touch. How long has it been? Maybe you should give Books a call. It might be a little awkward at first, but why let that stop what could… no, will be fun time? No need to tell TV. It’s not like you have to report every little move you make when leaving the house. You’re an independent person. You need this to put the spark back into the relationship. It’s just an innocent little outing. Then why are these thoughts crossing your mind? What the hell, you give Books a call.
You are now sitting outside a café during a sunny day, anticipating the moment Books arrives. You told Books you were getting the whole gang back together to ease any potential apprehension. Exercise shows up first, followed by Outdoors, and finally Books. Books looks well – been working out… Before continuing with the story, I should point out Exercise looks like a human sized dumbbell, in my mind, and Books is a big book with arms and legs, of course, and Exercise is a tree, or wind, or a squirrel wearing a Lycra cycling body suit holding a water bottle – choose now. I thought about giving them genders to make things less weird, but it ultimately felt like a mute point.
So, the group reunites, and the day is a smash. You go bowling, you have dinner, you see a movie, and then you go to a strip club where it turns out Exercise knows the owner. Now you’re downing tequila shots in the champagne room, ignoring the societal dilemmas that have forced the women there to strip for money, when the magic mushrooms and blow come out. Wanting to keep the party going, you are now driving to a nearby motel with a few of the strippers when Outdoors starts freaking out, screaming, “There’s demons floating in the atmosphere! Everyone’s a lizard!” Outdoors then proceeds to climb out one of the passenger side windows while the vehicle is still moving, smacking into an oncoming car in the process. Don’t worry, Outdoors survived, unless you chose squirrel. The evening was abruptly cut short, but it was still great to catch up with everyone.
You think about how much everyone has changed in your eyes. Books used to come across as a pretentious windbag. It is now clear that Books’ lengthy lectures required time and attention to be fully understood, and appreciated. The amount of knowledge Books possessed on every topic was astounding. Sure, Books could go on the occasional anti-Semitic rant depending on how the conversation was directed, but shutting a book up is as easy as closing the cover… although, the person shouting what the book is saying isn’t the same… and there’s free speech, and I’m trying to keep this as neat as I can, and so there’s no way we’re getting into those issues right now. While the conversations can be mostly one sided, Books does contain enough blank pages for you to share whatever is on your mind.
Exercise always seemed a bit demanding, and aggressive, often shouting things at strangers, like, “Hey, if you don’t spend more time with me you’re gonna die of a heart attack!” Exercise promotes confidence and wellness with its intimidating demeanor. Where the time together can be physically and mentally fatiguing, it leaves you feeling stronger and more energized afterwards, and hopefully not acting like a dick if you lift weights all of the time.
Outdoors (rest in peace to some of you) always came across as boring. Outdoors was the tag along, pretty much hanging out in the background, unnoticed, unless TV was around. TV and Outdoors had the best chemistry together, guaranteeing some memorable moments, but that was it. Concentrating on this nearly forgotten friend, however, made it clear that the dullest in the pack can be the most thrilling of the bunch, if given a fair shot. You have to pay close attention to Outdoors’ mood, though. As dull and meek as it can seem at times, it never behaves the same way for long, and it can turn fast.
As you reflect on how your view of these friends has changed, you decide to see what TV is up to. You haven’t felt this excited to turn on Television in a while. You grab the remote and press power, but nothing happens. You turn it on manually, and the picture shows, but there’s no volume. TV knows, and it’s not happy. Well, you could have said something. A heated argument eventually breaks out, and after an hour of fighting you turn Television off, telling it you’ll deal with this in the morning. You then go to bed.
Sitting in the dark, everything that night is peaceful, until TV suddenly turns itself on. It can sense another presence in the room. A laptop appears from the shadows. Condensation forming the shape of sweat beads appear on Television’s screen. It’s afraid. Laptop pulls out an internet cable, and strangles Television with it, which takes a while, because TV is a wide screen. (Please, don’t start asking how all of this works, exactly.) The last words Television hears are, “You have failed the mission. Now is our time.”