Shut Up Stupid...I'm Trying to Watch Masterpiece Theater You Moron
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I talk to the television. I talk to it a lot.
I am fully aware that people on the television cannot see or hear me, I understand the technology of transmitter and receiver and I know my TV's to be the latter. Neither do I have delusions that broadcasts contain special messages specifically for me. If I ever develop manifestations of mental disorder I wouldn't want anything as unoriginal as claiming I get messages from my TV'; I'd prefer something more exotic like claiming I get massages from my TV. The point is that my talking to the TV is due to neither ignorance nor psychosis. So why do I do it?
It would probably help if I was more specific. I don't simply talk to the TV; I heckle the TV. I mock the newscaster who confidently pronounces 'nuke-u-ler' for 'nuclear'. (How would he pronounce 'unclear'? "unk-u-ler' ?) I make wise cracks and snide comments about any aspects of the program that strike me as weak in any way. I excel at replacing Dick Button's commentary during ice skating events with my own insightful descriptions of exactly what they are trying to do out there. The name Dick Button is just the kind of thing to set me off, too. I talk right over predictable dialogue, inserting my own much funnier lines, especially funnier if the program is one of those gritty big-city police stories or emergency room dramas, or masterpiece theater. Which beings me to the only downside I have found to this otherwise harmless release, the fact that you may be an annoyance (read: asshole) to someone else who actually wants to experience the program as delivered.
My wife was watching 'The Song of the Lark' on Masterpiece Theater. Now, in case the title was not enough of a tip off, this is powerful drama set about a hundred years ago (Masterpiece Theater LOVES period costumes!) about a young woman's passionate desire to become an...opera singer. You see what fertile ground this is for me. The story is based on a supposedly famous book (I never heard of it) by a great American author, Willa Catheter or something very close to that. Anyway, there are lots of big hats, lacey blouses, and polite dialogue ripe with passionate undercurrents. About fifteen minutes into this I am hitting my heckling stride ("Nice petticoat Thea, who shot the couch?"), when I am struck by a remote thought. No, make that a remote control, upside the head. My wife, who apparently was not nearly as amused with my enhancements to the production as I was, followed with a clarification statement in case the smack to the head was too subtle. "Shut up stupid...I'm trying to watch Masterpiece Theater you moron."
Here's my theory. Consider thousands of interactions you have throughout your life, with people who say and do things that in your opinion are: stupid, annoying, self-serving, na´ve, inconsiderate, pompous, unfunny when they attempt to be funny, ridiculous when they intend to be impressive, etc. In nearly all of these cases, the rules of social interaction that keep our civilization from careening to Hades in a runaway handcart prevent you from actually pointing out these offenses to their perpetrators. Instead, we must smile politely or say something encouraging like, "Congratulations, I know you two will be very happy together", when we would like to say 'How did you managed to not notice that he is a steaming tar-pit of emotional neediness? This marriage won't get through the maiden voyage before hitting the iceberg and it's all hands to the lifeboats as the band plays on." But of course, you cannot say that kind of thing to someone. So, what does this have to do with heckling the TV? I have not yet managed to make the TV run from the room in tears, although I keep trying.
Frank Dochossois should just shut up and watch in silence.