I awoke this morning as I have for many days now to the Bose radio alarm clock on a table next to my bed. I have the option to hear the radio, a loud oscillating “tone,” or both as my wake up call. My radio preset is one of six available that I get to setup and the volume is loud enough to wake the neighbors. Recently, the preset station has been on 93.9 the Lite FM which plays contemporary pop music from the 80’s, 90’s and today. Pretty much nothing I listen to on a regular basis or even like; but it is noise and usually stirs me in the mornings. Which is pretty hard for me. I can never claim to be a regular early riser. It takes more effort than I care to admit (which I just did) to get my sorry ass out of bed every day. Me and the snooze button have a love/hate relationship… more like a hate relationship, no love involved there.
As I was saying, when I hear the music play, I manage to role over to my left side and extend my right arm just far enough to swipe the snooze button. The sound of silence brings me back into sleep mode. I get re-adjusted and comfortable and grab ten more minutes of sleep. The more this repeats itself, the more annoyed I become and eventually I need to stay awake in order to start my day. Hopefully, it is about the right time, so I am not in panic mode. I can guarantee that it is not early. Lately though, when I hear a song by Adele or Lady GaGa, I will let it play, but that is only becuase I’m curious. However, every day at some point in the “snooze wars,” this radio talk show host who goes by the name Valentine along with his crew is speaking on the air instead of the music. And every time I prefer the music. I do not have any feelings either way for this guy. His job and his radio station are only there to wake me up. I don’t remember every topic he likes to bring up with his witless companions; but I can ensure you that the topics are pretty mindless. One time, I got out of bed with a scowl on my face in believing that this talk show host prepares for his work every day by looking at “things” on his drive in the morning, and tries to find irony or a silly question about it. Then, his pals poke fun at him, and he will take a call from a listener, and poke fun at them after asking them their reaction. The only thing that keeps him yakking in my ear is my slowness in getting out of bed and hitting the “off” button.
So, why am I giving him my blog time? His ramblings this morning made me try to remember some trivial matters, and in doing so brought my thoughts to a distant and different time in my life. This type of retropsect I felt was important enough to write about.
Today’s topic was TGIF (Thank goodness its funny!), the ABC network’s Friday night television lineup slogan during the late 80’s into the 90’s. I listened to their discussion. Valetine was trying to rustle up the memories of the Friday night line-up on ABC starting at 7:00PM. The female crew member spoke with authority about what she recalled; Full House, Webster, and Perfect Strangers. TV show names were tossed out randomly and the subjects of that show were guessed. Line-ups were recited in order with opposing views. A remark was made about how every male watched Who’s the Boss? becuase of Alyssa Milano. The comeback by Valentine was that she was 9-years old at the time. (Actually, she started the show at the age of 12 and finished at the age of 20 in 1992. Her character Samantha is written as a pre-teen for the initial show.) Then he totalled disgraced himself with the comment that Judith Light’s character on the show was “hot.” Valentine took a useless call from a listener, and I pushed the “off” button. By that time I was standing… possibly wavering, and beginning another day. Oh, by the way, after a little research, Who’s the Boss? was on ABC but not on Friday nights.
Where did my mind take me? First of all, who remembers a network slogan for a night a television? I don’t remember TGIF. I tried, but I don’t remember it. Then I began to recall that after I married Pam in the mid-80’s, I DID have television regulars. There was NBC’s “Must See Thursday” lineup! I watched more typical TV shows during those days of my life. The ritual began at 8:00PM with Cheers, Night Court, and Hill Street Blues, which later changed to L.A. Law. I remember, my wife and I and eventually our little Denver spent our Friday nights as our ‘videos and pizza night.’ We would rent a movie or two, order a pizza, and slosh down a liter of RC Cola. RC was my favorite soft drink at the time. I would finish off a whole liter of RC and bag of “Cheese-Toes” when I was dating Pam. Why was I so surprised at my weight gain? Good livin’! Ugh.
In my mind, I saw myself sitting in “my chair” at our home on North Avenue in Des Plaines. At the time, I thought nothing of the hours spent watching the TV. In the speed of a thought, I touched on a lesson learned about relationships; spend more time with family then a TV program. Show more interest in your family than the characters on TV. Get moving more and watch less TV for your health. Don’t eat in excess; especially pizza and soda… it will make you big. All these lessons are invaluable when you are in a serious relationship. I can’t help but believe it had some impact on my failed relationship with Pam. However, in truth, it would have ended… and it may have ended in the same manner. The past cannot be re-written to see if there is a different outcome.
Another lesson learned came to mind when I thought that my attention was given too much to a TV instead of my wife. I may be over-exagerating in some regards, but in my nature as a person, I did not have that ability to operate in a loving relationship. I was deficient and dysfunctinal in an area I thought that came “naturally.” I thought of what happened to my relationship with the “tube” after my divorce. It really evaporated. I had to get HBO, in order to watch movies for my entertainment. In the 90’s and since, I have missed significant TV shows. I was no longer laughing with canned laughter. I was no longer in need of zingers and one-liners. I was no longer interested in sexual inuendo or the sexual tease. My attitude towards TV has lightened since then. I watch it, but I don’t HAVE to watch it. These days, I probably watch as much TV as many people. I prefer movies when I have time. I like some particular shows, but if I miss them I move on. I will never remember a TV’s ad campaign to watch a lineup of shows on any given night. Mr. Valentine, you made me remember my past (not like I need a lot of help in that area), but you are dumbing down your audience with these meaningless topics.
Another singlular moment flashed from my past; I sat at the kitchen table which was covered with papers in our small beginner’s home. I was an anal record keeper and wanted to create what I thought was a budget… or perhaps I was working on our income taxes. Regardless, I was intently doing my thing when Pam came into the room, stepped behind my chair and proceeded to lean in and give me a neck hug. In my insensitive manner, I bent my head away and down and waved her away with my hand as if a fly had landed on my ear. At that moment, that small action, made an awfully large statement that has stayed with me for over 25 years. If someone you love wants to hug you; let them. If your hands are free, hug them back. Touch them. If your spouse or a child, a parent or sibling, a friend reach out to you for a comforting display of connection… DO NOT turn them away, accept it. Embrace it. It will not secure your future but it will ease your pain, your present.