I have a life-long love affair with television. It was my baby sitter and friend. Then my journey into a weirder world. Then my ambition. Then my escape.
Those of us who grew up before the government ruined Saturday morning remember fondly the three network wide battle for hearts and souls that were the cartoons. A constant battle parade of entertaining dreck forever repackaged to appear new.
These were the most passive days of my TV viewing. Sitting there on the same channel show after show because changing the channel meant getting up and walking towards the radioactive device.
As I grew up my tastes began to vary and living near Boston meant there was a whole bunch out there to explore. The local PBS station showed all kinds of weird stuff. Dr. Who, Monty Python, Experimental Animations. In the pre-infomercial days the independent stations filled there nights with Bowery Boy movies, Australian sitcoms and of course, monster movies.
When I got to be old enough to work, my first purchase was a small Sears bland and white TV. It stayed with me through much abuse all the way to Iowa.
Then in Iowa, after two semesters of dorm living hell, I got my own place and it had cable TV. The installer thought I was weird having cable on a black and white TV.
Suddenly I had 32 channels of programming I had never seen before. Then a month later I had 26 channels that showed exactly the same thing they showed the month before.
Two of the good channels were the City and Public access channels. I wound up working for the city channel and performing regularly on the public access channel. This completed my transition from TV consumer to TV creator.
The cable era went on pretty much unchanged for decades. It might still be going on if we didn’t leave the normal world behind to travel the country in an RV full time.
Moving into the motorhome caused some many changes to my viewing habits. Many RV parks have cable TV but they all have very different channel counts and content.
I experimented with dozens of free and paid streaming services will I settled on the current lineup. However, through all this I wound up watching YouTube most of all. Each day I go through the channels I follow and the recommended videos, putting videos of interest into my watch later list. Then I spend an hour or two each evening watching later.
I now know three Emmy winners, one Oscar nominee and a Grammy nominee. Are these people more talented than me? Do they work harder? Did they take better advantage of their opportunities? YES. The answer to each one of those is yes.
My jealousy of their success is not me thinking they didn’t deserve it. They did. It’s me wanting some recognition of my own. The problem is that I’ve consciously followed a path that does not lead to this recognition. I have achieved a comfortable anonymity, yet am still able to publish my writing and videos.
It’s hard to say that fame has alluded me, when I didn’t pursue it. What I’m thinking is perhaps I should have. I look back at missed, or rather unfollowed, opportunities. I don’t know where they would have taken me. I never will.
So here I sit in a motel room, watching The Last Jedi on cable, thinking about all the TV I still want to create, realizing that I am the only one stopping me. Also, feeling grateful for all the TV I’ve watched over my life, good and bad. It continues to be quite a ride.
Sidebar – Wrestling On TV
60’s – Watched it. Believed it was real.
70’s – Watched it. Knew it was fake.
80’s – Didn’t watch it.
90’s – Watched it. Learned there was wrestling outside the WWF
00’s – Didn’t watch it.
10’s – Watched it. Mostly ROH and the Indies
20’s – Watched it. Mostly Indies on YouTube