My mom did not like the television. In fact, she hated it. Along with many others, she called it “the idiot box.” So we had rules involving when we could watch TV and what we could watch.
The TV was in the dining room, tucked into the corner right next to the kitchen, where we ate. Dinner time was one of those times when we were not allowed to watch TV.
One night, though, there was something on TV, I don’t remember what, which could not be ignored, it was that important. So important, I don’t remember what it was. Whatever it was, though, caused the TV to emit an incantation which put us into a spell. We three kids coped as subtly as possible. We did not rush into the dining room en masse. One at a time we’d get up from the table and slip very quickly to the doorway from which we could peer at the TV for a couple of seconds before returning to our chairs.
One at a time. You know, so my mom wouldn’t notice one of us was missing for a few seconds.
My mother sat there stewing. Until she got up, walked into the dining room and kicked the TV in. I mean, she broke it. Whatever we were watching was gone. So was the TV for the week it took the repair shop to fix it.
My mother exhibited no guilt whatsoever. In retrospect, I found her power and physical strength awesome. But I’ve had guilt about watching “the idiot box” ever since.
My mom’s spirit is omnipresent in my life, so that’s why I read while being TV-ed. But mom had a good, impish sense of humor; I can feel her smiling as she watches me read in front of the TV. She knows I’m cheating, I know I’m cheating. And anyway, I think she’d like this British crime show.