Soon my family will be gathering from all over the country -- from Texas to Pennsylvania. As a family we really love this time of year when families like us gather to celebrate the birth of Philo Farnsworth -- inventor of the holy television set.
It's a holiday gathering like no other. There will be televisions playing football games in the living room, televisions playing reality shows in the family room, televisions playing cooking shows in the kitchen....even little flatscreen televisions in each of the kids rooms just in case there's a conflict between the cousins over which shows to watch. And they'll all be blaring at just that perfect decibel level -- the level above which it won't be impossible to shout over....but it will be impractical.
I don't know about your family, but my family has a whole list of Television Caroles that we like to sing at this time of year. Well, I guess I should say we used to like to sing them until it finally dawned on us that some of them were too long (had too many verses) to fit in during the commercial breaks. We might miss actual programming.
First we tried shortening the TV Caroles to fit in the breaks. Then, with the advent of tivo, there no longer were commercial breaks, long OR short, in which to squeeze a carole or two. So we gave them up.
We don't miss 'em though......one of my brothers tivo'd last year's American Idol! Between that re-run "Idol" show and the new "Sing-Off!" there will be plenty of music in the Bauman house without all that pesky participatory stuff.
Back in the days before my family was totally converted to Televisianity, we used to, you know, talk and stuff. We'd spend HOURS trying to sus out just how we felt about things, how the world was treating us, what we enjoyed doing, what we thought about the political scene. Trivial, no-account stuff.
Now, television helps us shortcut through all that mudanity. It helps us waste less time on getting to know each other. And television allows us to spend more time on what really matters. Like who is doing well on "Survivor", or who's who in the NFL.
Want to know how that brother you haven't seen in three years feels about the world? ...here's a handy shortcut that has been made available only through the wonder that is television: Simply ask him if he watchs FOX or MSNBC. Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy. Not only is it a practical shortcut, but it rids conversation of all that annoying ambiguity that used to muck up family discussions. It's as easy as black and white....ironically, brought to you in living color!
Your lights are brightly shining
There's a game, and the sound's turned up loud
Long lay the world
So bored and unenlightened
'Til you appeared, put remotes in our hands
A thrill of hope
'Round the clock news cycles
We now can tell
Exactly who we are
Fall on the barcalounger
Oh hear those programs ringing
It's simply divine
The night TV was born