“The Incredible Hulk” television program started at 7 o’clock on Friday nights. I remember sitting with my brother eating our bowl of chips while we sipped on our allotted one glass of soda each. The elusiveness of Bruce Banner was fascinating.
My mother didn’t mind that we occupied the only television in our home for an hour because there wasn’t anything else on at that time. At 8 o’clock though “The Dukes of Hazzard” with Daisy Duke came on (this may have been the beginning of my lifelong fascination with women wearing short shorts), which was followed by Dallas. My mother was interested in both of those shows, so she would sit with us intrigued by the Friday night CBS lineup.
Sometimes my brother and I tell his kids about these evenings. We were happy with only five channels to choose from. Of course, we didn’t want to watch anything else. But if we did, well guess what, you had to get up out of your seat and change the channel because what the hell was a remote control? Good Lord, how ridiculous is that. Getting up out of your favorite chair. I lost the best view in the house many times while changing channels. I survived.
But the world we know today is not the same. It cannot look in the mirror and still see that younger version of what it once was. Drastic changes have occurred. New technology is here to stay.
I walked into a friends’ house one evening. They were getting ready to watch something on channel 248. I don’t remember what it was. Dancing with the Stars maybe, but it doesn’t matter. The act of watching television with family and friends is now a rushed, impersonal act. I’m going to say; it is also a lonely act.
First of all, I realized they were watching a show previously recorded on their DVR. They were busy last week so they couldn’t watch this entertainment. Not only that, but while watching this program, they were recording a different sitcom, which was on at the same time. Sounds like a clue to the game of the same name. Which remote did you have in your hand while watching a program that was seven days old? Hell I don’t know. I think I had the remote that controls the volume.
Here is another example of lonely television watching habits. Just this past Saturday I was at a different friend’s house. His television was on ESPN (hey we live in the Midwest where watching television is a mainstay; what else can I say). I asked him what kind of programs he is currently watching. He told me that he didn’t have time to watch television. I just shrugged my shoulders and pretended to not think about the subject anymore. But, I got my answer when he went to use his personal facilities.
I hit the list button, which would bring up the programs he has recorded. Fifty-two titles appeared on the screen! Fifty-two!!! I had to question his time issues. He walked out of the bathroom and returned to his chair, which by the way I didn’t steal from him while he was gone.
“I thought you said that watching TV placed an enormous strain on your life?”
“It does; that’s why I record them.”
“So when do you watch them?”
“When I have time.”
“When is that?”
“My free time.”
I allowed that answer to settle into the room like the dust that carpeted every piece of furniture he owned. What a pigsty. I guess he didn’t have time to clean his house either.
Obviously the aforementioned conversation was turning into an Abbot and Costello routine. I cut it short, and saved myself a trip to the therapist’s office. I changed the conversation topic just as I changed the channels.
I couldn’t help but think that once again, here was a person with such impersonal television watching habits. All of this technology and he is still alone watching these day to weeks old programs. Call me crazy, but shouldn’t it be the other way around? I mean, so much for the water cooler talk.
My point is, how many children from today’s generation will remember what time a television show came on, much less the memories of that special family or even friend time. Not many I bet. Frankly, that sounds kind of lonely.