I was six years old when our TV died. The picture had been fading for some time before it for once and for all breathed its last, but since I had never witnessed the demise of a TV, I continued watching in sheer, blissful ignorance, complete oblivious to the now obvious fact that our beloved magic tube was about to buy the farm.
One fateful morning, before heading for the bus stop, I was watching Captain Kangaroo and the picture began to implode. There is no other word for it. The picture gradually began to close in on itself until there was just a teeny, tiny dot of light that eventually…went…away. There was a faint “poof” and the TV went dark one final time, never to see the light of day again.
Right about that time, however, my parents made what turned out to be a fortuitous decision to not replace the TV, at least, not immediately. Having no TV to watch, I turned to books for entertainment. I’d been a somewhat avid reader before the demise of the TV, but now I began to ferociously devour them. I read everything in our house that had writing on it: cereal boxes, old magazine, not to mention every single book my parents owned, including an old college textbook about Greek mythology. Then I turned my attention to the children’s section of the local library and systematically began reading my way through it, starting at the end of the alphabet and working my way back to the beginning. I read as if my life depended on it, as if the world was ending.*
When my parents finally replaced the TV, my reading habits were firmly established, so even though I resumed my great like for television, nothing could ever supersede my love affair with books.
This, in my opinion, is a classic example of how to make lemonade out of that bag of lemons handed to you by this thing called life. And it’s proof that when you grow up you will appreciate some of the seemingly mean or unfair things your parents did to you. They aren’t always trying to ruin your life. Sometimes they really do know best.
* Speaking of those two things (…reading and the end of the world…) reminded me of a painfully ironic Twilight Zone episode called Time Enough At Last.