Actually, it IS Rocket Science

Swapping vices

When I was a kid I religiously watched Saturday Morning Cartoons while I waited for my parents to get up.  For a while, growing up, we didn’t have cable, so I was stuck with the big three networks and whatever was on PBS, which meant that when a cartoon came on NBC, you’d better capture it in your visual memory like a rare bird.  Once or twice, when I had done something to tick my parents off, they tried to ban me from watching television as punishment, but I didn’t hear anyone mentioning that prohibition on Saturday mornings, when I woke up at 5am.  I wonder why.

I’d ultimately wrap it up with an episode of TMNT and slam down breakfast before I went out to play with the neighborhood kids, where we would then re-enact the exact episode we had just watched.  It was definitely a case of life imitating art, as pathetic as it was.  But at least I knew I wasn’t the only kid who sang the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United Cartoons of Saturday Morning.

And then the unavoidable happened- we moved, time slots were filled with other crap, I became more interested in video games, I became more interested in indie-garage music, I became more interested in boys, I became more interested in the newfound freedom of having a driver’s license, I became more interested in making indie-garage music, and on it goes.

Regardless, there has never been a Saturday morning that I didn’t wake up looking forward to something (except for that really shitty period of time in college, which I’m sure was fueled by a lot of equally shitty music [although I never made the mistake of getting into emo, I’m not that dumb]), and TV took a backseat…sort of.  I still turned it on for white noise a lot because, I don’t know, I guess I was waiting for something to pop out and entertain me, even though that was pretty rare.

Then when I moved to Chicago, I became the victim of what some refer to as “crippling, debilitating winters,” where everybody basically hibernates between the months of November and May.  Yeah, you might venture out to get rations of cornmeal and pork lard and other various pioneer fodder, but you had better tie a rope from your house to wherever you’re going so you can find your way back.  So the best idea of a Saturday morning quickly became all about what do to while you camped out inside.  And surprised as I was, television stuck around like an old best friend.  Only this time, TV showed up like an old flame who had given himself a makeover.  Now he had a DV-R that I could record multitudes of tv that I missed throughout the week so we could spend real quality time together and fast forward through the commercials.

“It’s okay, baby, I know you hate that Empire Rugs jingle, let’s just skip it.”

“Promise you’ll never let me go.”

And by that time I had learned to cook.  So instead of The Real Ghostbusters or Pound Puppies, I got glued to Barefoot Contessa and 5 Ingredient Fix, which I would then go to the grocery store periodically when the snow finally let up and re-enact the exact episode I had just seen.  Life imitating art. Again.  I’m cool with it.

I kind of left Chicago with nothing, apart from my books, my dvd’s, clothes, and little else.  I thought about what I’d stock my new apartment with and saw my opportunity to break away from my tv addiction once again.  I mentioned this to my mom, who had always been an advocate for the “Turn that goddam thing OFF” campaign and her answer surprised me.

She thought for a second and said, “You know, I think you’re gonna need a TV over there.”


“Yeah.  Because you know, you’re going to be out there, without a roommate, and you just took out a BIG loan, so you’re going to be trying to save a lot of money by not going out- so you’re going to need something to break the monotony.”

“You think I won’t be going out?”

“Well, sure, once in a while, but on who’s tab?  You’re in debt now; get used to it.”

So this morning, I woke up, brewed some coffee, and sat down with Choliccio and Morimoto, instead of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo, and soon after I will go outside and play with my friend in San Diego while we share a bottle of wine and re-enact a classic episode where the chefs defeat the evil “Looking-like-an-uncoordinated-fool-while-eating-salad” beast.


By the way, while typing the name “Donatello,” it came up with little red dots underneath, which made me think I had misspelled it, so I googled it, and this is what came up:

The internet knows its priorities.


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