A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger
who was new to our small 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... well, 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
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 long time 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.
We just call him 'TV.
He has a wife now....we call her 'Computer.'
Their first child is "Cell Phone".
Second child "I Pod "
And JUST BORN THIS YEAR WAS a Grandchild:
.....and their influence dominates our lives.
(Note: This should be required
reading for every household!)