Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Stranger

I tried to find the original author but could not.

Hattip: My sister

The Stranger

A few years after I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our
small Clover, South Carolina town. From the beginning, Dad was
fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live
with our family. The stranger 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 stranger... he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound
for hours on end with adventures, mysteries, and comedies.

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 the first major league ball game. He made me
laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger 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
stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the
stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example,
was not allowed in our home... not from us, our friends or any
visitors. Our longtime 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 stranger
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 stranger. 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 stranger moved in with our
family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he
was at first. 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. His name?

We just call him "TV."

He has a wife now...We call her "Computer".

* *Note: This should be required reading for every household in America!

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