I love television, not the actual piece of equipment but the shows that are broadcast on it. It would be more interesting if I just loved televisions – the shape, the size, the variety, the brands, the colors, the static screens, but I don’t. I’m not that kind of strange, yet. I hope that televisionphiles exist though. But not people that have sex with televisions, just people who really love televisions and put them on display in their houses for their visual beauty. I like television (the object) inasmuch as it allows me to watch television shows, which is what I really love. Much like sleep, I could watch television all day, every day if my lifestyle allowed it. But I have yet to find a job as a professional sleeper or TV-watcher so I still have to make time to go to work. But when I’m not at work I want to be watching television.
My father loved television as well, it’s in my genes. The television was always on somewhere in the house. I say somewhere because at one point in my childhood, closer to adolescenthood, there was a television in nearly every room in the house except the bathrooms. We probably housed at least 8 televisions, if not more. I’m not sure if it’s because my dad wanted to be able to watch baseball wherever he was in the house or because had a moderate-to-severe shopping addiction with borderline hoarding tendencies, maybe both. Whatever the reason for the surplus of televisions in the house of my youth, television made its way to my heart through my eyes.
Like any good American family that doesn’t know how to converse with each other honestly about their desires and emotions, we ate in front of the television, often too close to the screen, which is a terrible habit that I still struggle with. You’re not supposed to associate eating and TV-watching because every time you do one you’ll want to do the other, simple conditioning, and if you watch as much TV as I want to, you’ll end up grossly unhealthy. We fell asleep in front of a television too. Who needs a nightlight when you have the comforting flashing glow of late night infomercials? I took what I thought was a dramatic stand in my late teens against having a television in my bedroom, but that just meant I fell asleep on the couch most nights and eventually had to sleepily stumble to relocate to my actual bed – another bad habit that has accompanied my into adulthood. I would also sneak out of my bedroom to hide behind the couch and watch whatever program my father was watching which was either Law & Order or Charles Stanley sermons – two very different genres of show. Sometimes my dad would notice me sneakily watching TV and let me come out from behind the couch to take notes for him, usually on the sermons not the L&O episodes, although I probably would have learned more from those.
I have a strange relationship with television. It’s the third sibling that never took fully human form. It never had to grow up, move out and get a job. Lucky. It was as central to my childhood and upbringing as my actual sibling and both are still of great importance to me to this day. I find I can really by myself when I watch TV. It doesn’t force me into small talk and it never judges my apparel. We can just sit and be and re-run some of our favorite memories. I miss television when I haven’t watched it for a couple days (which is rare, but does happen). I just want to check in and make sure it’s doing okay. Sure, the way I watch has changed. Who actually has cable these days? And I rarely see commercials (Thanks, Netflix) sometimes I miss those too. But the connection remains the same, well not physically because (see: No One Has Cable Anymore), but emotionally. Since I moved away from my closest friends, my relationship with television has only grown stronger.
Television isn’t melting my brain or stunting my intelligence, it’s opening my heart and warming my soul. The other night I had a dream in which I got a tattoo of a TV so I think that’s a sign. I’m ready to get my equivalent of a heart that has a banner that reads MOM on it to show my true love for the one who raised me. When’s Television’s Day? I don’t want to forget to send a card.