Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Stranger

This is different and interesting.

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our
small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this
enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The
stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind,
he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom
taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing
each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the
kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the
stranger to leave.)


Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger
never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not
allowed in our home... Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our
longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned? my
ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.

My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger
encouraged us to try it on
a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes
distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments
were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced
strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my
parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our
family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was
at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would
still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen
to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?....

We just call him, "TV."

* *Note: This should be required reading for every household in America!**
He has a wife now....We call her "Computer."

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