I am reading my sister’s telenovela, and it’s coming right along. There is a mustachioed villain, who ties a poor orphan to some railroad tracks, and then there is a guest appearance by Cher, who teams up with yet another orphan to save the day. I wish all those things I just said were true. Actually, it’s a lot of thinly-veiled autobiographical material. I think I am the the fussy older sister, except I don’t fucking shop at Target. And I don’t power-walk with little ankle weights, I do Pilates!
Anyway, we are on an unbearable memory lane promenade. So much of what she’s brought up is simply horrifying. For instance, she reminded me of all the gaping voids in my cultural knowledge. We didn’t have a TV until I was at least 8, maybe 9. Compound that with being home schooled until the age of 12 (breastfed until 3!), and you have a real freak on your hands. Lately I’ve been thinking of taking up sharpshooting for fun.
But when the TV did finally arrive, on a faux wood finish rolly cart, I rightly set out to cram as much pop culture as possible. I knew they were holding me back with their crunchy weirdness. Our mother and father had this delusion that we were only going to watch educational programs. There was much squalling and complaining, so they amended that to include anything they’d already seen that they knew wasn’t “insolent.” They last had a TV in about 1975, before their crazy “drop out of society” experiment of 1976-1986. So that meant I could watch all the Bewitched, Green Acres, and I Dream of Jeanie that I wanted. All fine, parentally approved stereotypes. “Oh Master!”
Insolence, if you were wondering, included Charles in Charge, Growing Pains, The Facts of Life, and so much more. Also objectionable: Alvin and the Chipmunks, because of their whiny little voices. What were these people thinking? I ask myself that to this day. If you ask them that very question, there is confused blinking, as if you are shining a painful light directly on them. At least they finally allowed that the Golden Girls was a pretty great show. For some reason, Small Wonder, with the robot daughter, was also OK. Then my mother eventually became hooked on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reruns. She would tape it so she could fast foward through the commercials. She became so wrapped up in the character that when we told her that she might like to see Six Degrees of Separation, she jumped at the chance. But then after she saw it, she was nonplussed: “MY Will would never do those things!”
What was I saying about shooting?