FROM DA MAN: WEEKLY GUEST POST
It’s been fun writing the last few blog posts. But I have to be honest. After writing about feminism (Pretty Woman), motherhood (Boobs Up), and friendship (God, You Gave Me Her?), the estrogen levels of my posts were surging to that of a pregnant woman watching a ‘Save The Children’ advertisement. If I didn’t balance things out – quickly – I knew my next piece could very well be about a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and a ‘Terms of Endearment’ marathon. This, of course, invites all kinds of crazy, and never ends well. For anyone.
With this in mind, I decided to ask some of my funniest, most interesting, male friends to come to my rescue, and help ‘guy up’ the blog, by contributing a piece. To my surprise, most agreed. Others are still pretending they haven’t received the email. If I haven’t asked you yet – and you’re funny and interesting- be warned, I likely will. Anyway, that’s how the weekly “From Da Man” guest post was born.
Today’s post – “With My Crown Came Nothing” – was written by a college friend, Dan O’Grady. He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s Irish, he’s a husband, he’s a dad, and he’s a cop. If this guy didn’t have stories, I didn’t know who would.
Thanks, Dan for a fantastic post!
So I’m sitting down watching the tube when my son comes waltzing into the room, plops down on the couch, and starts flipping through channels. When I protested, he looked at me like a farmer’s son might look at his Dad after he put the kid’s horse down. Amazing! This exchange would have been unthinkable thirty years ago. Back then fathers were the undisputed rulers of the television set.
You knew this before he even sat down. My dad would announce his presence in the TV room by waving his thumb like a hitchhiker and bellowing, ‘Cop a Mope.’ To this day, I don’t know the origin of this saying. I assume this is some obscure idiom from the ‘40s or ‘50s. By the context of its use, though, I figured out early on in life that, roughly translated, it means, ‘Shut up and get out of my sight!’ That was all it took! You got up and left . . . but not before serving your stint as a human antenna or remote control. Other than that, I’d be more inclined to lick someone’s oozing sore than touch the television set when he was around.
It was an even worse when my Dad was at work. As the youngest of four children (I have three sisters), I had to get in line behind them too for TV rights. At least with my Dad I had the off chance of watching Charles Bronson murder everyone who ever wronged him. With my sisters it was always ‘General Hospital,’ ‘One Life to Live,’ ‘Dallas’ and all that other crap. With my sisters at the helm the TV room became the laboratory scene from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ where Alex is subjected to prolonged, forced reconditioning. It wasn’t just the shows that were emasculating. The commentary didn’t help either. ‘When you grow up you should be like Bobby. He’s a nice guy! Don’t end up like J.R. I’ve met too many guys like him and let me tell you . . . blah, blah, blah!’ They would throw Cosmo quiz questions at me too as we watched. It was humiliating.
You may ask, ‘Why didn’t you just watch TV in another room?’ Excuse me?! I’m not a Rockefeller! There was no other TV! The one we had black and white too. Color TVs were commonplace in the seventies but my parents weren’t having it. Standard, black and white, broadcast, television was a barely justifiable extravagance by my parents’ standards. We actually trekked up the block to the neighbor’s house so we could watch ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in all its Technicolor glory. Cable? Please! ‘What kind of moron would pay good money to watch television? What are you nuts?’ So when all the other kids were shouting ‘I want my MTV’ (and getting it), I had to be contented with the ‘Uncle Floyd Show’ on UHF.
I set the perfect stage for my ascendency. I bought the flat-screen TV, cable with premium channels, the whole nine yards. Unfortunately, I failed to set the right tone and shape the proper television culture in my home. As a result, I’m not allowed to watch anything unless everyone else in the house is unconscious! No one budges when I tell them to ‘Cop a Mope’ either. They just sit there and laugh in my face. Forget about choosing what to watch.
I have to sit there and suffer through all manner of children’s programming. Have you seen these shows? They were created by the same people who took the brown acid at Woodstock. Just imagine the freakiest parts of the Beatles ‘Yellow Submarine’ playing in a never-ending loop. After being subjected to them for a few hours I start getting paranoid. For a while I suspected I was a guinea pig in some government program like Project MKUltra. This was the covert CIA operation where they dosed unsuspecting subjects with LSD and then observed their behavior. That’s how wacked these shows are!
Then it’s my wife’s turn. Lucky for her, there is more programming targeting women from ages 18-49 (a.k.a. Chick Shows) on now than ever in the history of television! Downtown Abby and similar shows are on every night of the week! ‘Oh, but surely you like them. They are soooo sophisticated.’ They are? As far as I can tell, afternoon soap operas and these ‘sophisticated dramas’ are nearly identical. The differences? The actors in the latter wear period costumes and have British accents! That’s about it! Did you know they have two entirely different ‘sophisticated dramas’ running at the same time whose plots are based entirely on the trials and tribulations of working in a department store? I’m not kidding! I asked my wife one day, as we were watching one of them, ‘Hey, what the heck ever happened to that sales clerk who quit the department store to go work with her uncle?’ Her reply was, ‘That’s the other show based on a London Department Store set at the turn of the last century, you idiot!’ WHAT?!?! The only thing I dread more than shopping in a department store is watching a show about other people shopping in a department store. Even if you like shopping, how is this entertaining?
Oh well, ‘The struggle is over, the boys are defeated.’ There is no sense in dwelling on it anymore. At least I can always take comfort in my mother’s words of wisdom: ‘TV rots your brain!’ She is right of course!
You can all keep your stinkin’ TV! I’m going out to play!