T.V. Never Changes in the Bibey House
I remember when we didn’t have a T.V. in our home. It never has been that big a thing for us. Maybe it’s because there isn’t much good music on television. I found radio more magical anyway.
I don’t think T.V. has changed all that much. The idea is to hire the youngest, best looking people you can find; it sells more ads. I have to admit reality T.V. doesn’t do a thing for me. I see enough reality in my work, so I’d rather have someone like Jack Benny speak to my soul with humor and grace.
When I was a kid our neighbors got a color set. Later Dad gave in and we got one too, but he didn’t see what all the fuss was about. ‘Bonanza’ was big then. The color was of such poor quality that Dad thought Lorene Greene looked jaundiced. I didn’t know what it was and went to look it up. In some ways Dad was way ahead of his time. He thought the world of Marshall Dillon, but couldn’t understand why they’d let him smoke on T.V. He knew it would influence young people.
When Marfar and I got married we lived in a small trailer. The best piece of furniture we had was a three legged couch. A brick propped up the fourth corner. We only got two T.V. channels, but in the summer you could get a third if you opened the door. I rigged up an antenna on the clothes line pole, but we couldn’t afford the rotor. I’d go out at night and turn it by hand and stop when she stomped on the floor to signal we had a clear station. I still remember winter and how the cold metal wanted to stick to my hands. Very soon I learned to eye-ball the proper position with minimal exposure to the elements.
For a long time we didn’t have the cable. We broke down when Arnie began to talk about the Golf Channel. At first, my boy and I watched a lot. One day he was tuned in to some obscure (at least for us in the States) European Tour event and shouted, “Hey Dad, some guy over in Ireland swings like you and he’s making a living!”
At first we went overboard. But, as some wag observed, when you can recite the top ten ladies on the Japanese women’s tour and spell their names right you aren’t reading enough. We weaned ourselves from the addiction, but still watched some.
Indie never thought much of T.V. either. He had two old sets at the cabin. The picture worked in the console one and the sound was functional in the portable one that sat on top of it. He loved baseball and horse races. He didn’t always keep the sets in synch, so sometimes Secretariat would hit a home run.
After Indie died, he left his cabin to us. We left it about the same, but when analog T.V. went out we did get a converter box. It doesn’t work very well, and we only get three channels. At first it was only two, but we got out the old powered antenna and put it on the porch to pull in a third one. Some things never change.
A special on Walter Cronkite was on last night. One thing has changed about T.V. I’ve never trusted anyone as much since Mr. Cronkite retired. If he said it, I believed it. Right in the middle of the special somehow the digital signal failed, and the screen went blank. I went out and fiddled with my home-made rig to no avail. Maybe things haven’t changed so much after all. I guess I’ll read about it in the morning paper. Sometimes I wish we had stuck with radio; it was so much more reliable.
I often wonder how T.V. plays out in other cultures. In the U.S. it is too dominant to suit me, though the Internet has diluted it’s influence somewhat. It is too silly for my taste too. What is television like where you come from?
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