Sunday, December 20, 2009


DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL

As earlier readers of these humble chronicles may recall - if they’re still coming back now and then after all this time - each year in Spring when the leaves open they close off my access to satellite television, leaving me only with standard J-tv, which I don't really watch, apart from quick news and weather, otherwise more like peer at and shake my head in amazement maybe an hour a month, just to see if anything has changed in 30 years.

Then in autumn, when the leaves fall in sufficient quantity they restore my satellite signal, which rises from zero over the days till it hits a nice clear high and I can see the bitter faces of Bull O’Really and friends once again. No doubt many of you share that pleasure year round. You have my sympathies. Yes, once again I can wade in the shallows of Samsara that tv seems to represent so well, compared to the mere "vast wasteland" it was back in the 60s.

I'm so old I remember original US tv back in the 50s, when there were actual plays on live at prime time, like Requiem for a Heavyweight, and individuals of deep integrity like Edward R Murrow, programs like the Firestone Classical Music hour, Hall-of-Fame stuff like The Twilight Zone and so on, back when the tv bigwigs were still trying to learn what people liked and hadn’t yet found the moneyed monsters in the basement.

This year, however, in a new act of mercy I cannot yet fathom, all the leaves have fallen but my signal from the sky remains at zero. Somebody up there is perhaps trying to spare me the rigors of the Dark Sea. All I'd have to do is tweak this or patch that, maybe reconnect a wire or two, to bring the basement back into my life, but at some point I became aware of a growing reluctance to lift a finger to resurrect the creatures that come in the day and the night to devour with their manic hunger all of my life they can get.

I know that may be a bit extreme, but when I go outside, the contrast between that dark window and the broad, bright reality of Pure Land Mountain is profound, rich with a joy that will never fit in a tube.

2 comments:

Maggie said...

I think I am older than you. Those plays were live...a few on kinescope. Here, I just added another wall of bookcase to my already overcrowded living room. When the TV dies, which may be a while since it's a Sony, it won't be replaced.

Tabor said...

I find much on PBS very inspiring and educational and some of the other channels such as science TV are also good...but come spring the hours in front of the TV become less and less at the day length grows.