I have seen it around in various forms and perhaps you have, too. The message is pretty clear. It is not original with me, but I wish it were. Feel free to copy it and send it around. I am still working on a couple of entries as I wait the repair of my laptop.
A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger became “The Visitor” that never left as he was quickly accepted and was around from then on.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil and Dad taught me to obey. But The Visitor…he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventure, mystery and humor. If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to our first major league ball game. He made me laugh and he made me cry.
The Visitor never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind. Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for The Visitor to leave.)
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but The Visitor never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home…not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our long-term Visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol, but The Visitor encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by The Visitor. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked…and NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since The Visitor moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. What is his name?
We just call him, “TV.”
Oh, and now he has a younger sister. Her name is “Internet.”