Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Television, Tennis Balls, and Kitties

In 1975 I quit watching TV because of something my high-school English teacher, Mr. Schumacher, said. “You girls, you cross your legs and nervously bob a leg up and down. Well, you’re just wasting energy.”

My mind immediately took that statement and nudged it a step further—into the living room. How much time and energy do humans waste doing nothing but staring at the box of movement, delighting in entertainment others have created for those less motivated? Perhaps you see the action of bobbing legs and the inaction of watching TV as unrelated, but you don’t live in my head.

After that English class, and except for occasional fixes of 60 Minutes and Saturday Night Live, I quit watching TV and soon became repulsed by the noise. By college, September 1977, I’d completely quit. Ironically, though, I was on TV as an evening news anchor for the college station, lights shining brightly, accentuating imperfections.

To this day, 35 years later, friends who’ve known me for two to nearly four decades will say, “Have you seen—? Ahh, right, you won’t know this, but on TV…,” and they’ll describe a show that has made an impact on them. Friends don’t mind sharing with me, and they respect my difference without rolling eyes.

Many of my Colorado friends don’t watch the telly, either. There are just too many outdoor, theater, arts, music, sports, literary, and social things to do. And don’t forget the book. God led two of my friends’ families to grant me their libraries after my friends passed, so when it’s cold and blustery outside, a hundred books raise their hands shouting “pick me!”

Of course, movies, tax preparation, and pussy cats cross my mind too. (Yes, it’s that time again to contact my preparer, aka my former.)

Last night before Ivy, 17, and I popped in the movie Pulp Fiction, our two puddy cats were rolling around the floor being fat, furry, and cute. It reminded me of when Ivy, herself, was still a scoop of mashed potatoes—a rolly, squishy, bubbly, babbling little dish. Her dad and I would watch her explore and learn, then pause and fill her diaper. It provided hours of aromatic entertainment.

So I ask, with all the creative things to do with time, who needs TV? And if simply watching a baby, cat, or dog doesn’t provide the needed excitement, try tossing a cat, three tennis balls, and a dryer sheet into the dryer (Ivy’s idea). It’s more fun to watch through a glass door (my two cents).

Just kidding.

It’s just as fun to have a metal door, then watch the cat stumble out after a few turns.
No, not really. Would I do that?

Author’s note: When I came upstairs after shooting the cat in the dryer, I said to Ivy, “That cat is such a sport. He handled the turns in the dryer so well.”

Ivy’s incredulous look said, “You didn’t. Did you?”


  1. Come on -- your did it. Here was probable three cats and one ball.

  2. Did you really waste your time watching a garbage movie like Pulp Fiction? When did you and your child's dad actually do what you say? I wasn't aware that you could even stand to be in the same house with the guy by the time you gave birth.

    It would be better if you put the cat in the hot tub.

  3. I believe commenter number one meant to write: "Come on, you did it. Here was probably a situation involving three cats and one ball."

    But after 25 years, he knows me too well to believe that. Eh, Chicago boy?

  4. I really liked the first part, but when you got to the part about the cat in the dryer, I'm afraid I furrowed my brow and thought "Now who would do such a thing, and why is the thought of that funny...even if she (hopefully) did not even do it ?!?" The older I get, the more difficult it is for me to tolerate stuff that is mean...

    Once before when I read your blog I remember being incredulous at something you wrote that turned out to be fictional...so I guess this is what the part about watching "Ivy" poop her pants (and "dad" with you) was also fictional.

    So I have to keep in mind that the humorous embellishments may well be fictional!

  5. My embellishments sometimes make me moisten my diaper when I'm writing. I crack myself up (doesn't take much)! I would never intentionally hurt an animal. Heck, I carry spiders outdoors.

    Even as ranchers, my family would have another rancher raise the cow we planned to consume. This led me to become a 27-year vegetarian till Mr. Carnivore came into my life and exposed Ivy to meat. She loves it.

    When Ivy leaves for college, I'm going back to flora life, but considering the excesses I bestow on my animals, I will continue buying fresh beef and chicken quarters for Shiloh and making chicken-veggie-rice soup for all the animals (and me). They are all treated with as much love as I know you bless your pupper with (did I just end with a preposition?).

    I love you!


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