My parents were hippies, and they didn’t want my young brain filled with TV.
So I listened to movies and stories on vinyl (Annie was my all time fave, and The Velveteen Rabbit made me cry each and every time); I painted rocks that I would later sell to my neighbors; I played hide and seek outside until dark with my best friend, and if I was lucky my mom or dad would bring me home an Archie comic book.
On my super lucky days it would be a double digest.
We eventually got a black and white TV in the early 90’s, and the screen was exactly 5 inches.
It had a lengthy pair of bunny ears attached to the top of it, and it got one channel that sort of came in if I held the TV up towards one of our windows. This was a chore because even though the screen was only 5 inches, the fucker was heavy.
If the channel came in clear enough on Friday night, my mom would let me watch TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday), a string of sitcoms that aired on Fridays. Perfect Strangers, Full House, Family Matters and Step by Step. Holy hell, did I love Friday nights.
So what if the tiny black and white picture had lines through it and the sound went in and out. I was entertained without having to do a damn thing.
It was brilliant.
Before we got the 5-incher, it was pretty much drought city up in the TV department.
There were four times a year that I could veg out in front of the coveted box, and I waited for these occasions all year long as if they were Christmas morning.
1. My uncle’s house
We visited him once a year and I would stay in his basement for as many hours and days as my mom would allow, binging on VHS after VHS.
The Breakfast Club, Adventures in Babysitting, Sixteen Candles, Crocodile Dundee, Back to the Future, The Goonies, ET, Pretty in Pink, Dirty Dancing….is there ANYTHING better than movies from the 80’s?
I think not.
My marathon would last our entire trip. Fuck the zoo, screw bowling, pooh pooh the water park, I wanted John Hughes, and I wanted a lot of it.
2. My mom’s aunt’s house
She was surly, but she had cable, so I was always game for a visit.
My great aunt never had kids, and I don’t think she really knew what to do with them. This worked out in my favor because the extent of her and my visit was her putting a towel over her Lazy Boy to protect it from kid, handing me the TV remote and telling me not to make a mess.
From here I had free reign.
I would go through all the channels, write down what was showing on each, and then decide what to watch. By the time I decided on what I would indulge in, the show would be over and I would have to start the process all over again.
It didn’t matter, the possibilities were endless, and I was in heaven. My best show, the one worthy of halting all my browsing, was Three’s Company.
The first time I watched it, I knew that one day I would live in California, and I also knew that I really liked looking at Suzanne Somers boobs. I remember wondering if it was normal for girls to be so pleased looking at boobs. Normal or not, I loved them.
3. My neighbor’s house
My neighbor didn’t have cable, but he did have about 6 channels that came in clear and they were in COLOR. So when my mom cleaned his house once a year in preparation for his mom and dad’s yearly visit, I knew I had a good window to get in some screen time.
My mom would clean his house for 5 days in a row, from 9am to noon. I never felt right about going with her to veg out while she cleaned. That would have been be an asshole move.
I always asked her if she needed help, and then I would be selective about the jobs I would take on.
I only did the jobs that I could do in the living room, where conveniently, the TV was located. I would also make the super helpful suggestion that any living room vacuuming should probably wait until after 11:00am.
This was when The Price Is Right and Family Feud were over and, the boring Soap Operas began.
4. Short stint at my sister’s house
There is a 17 year age gap between my oldest sister and I so she was in and out of the the picture, doing her own thing while I was growing up.
There was one particular period when I was 10 that she lived in the same little town as me, and every Thursday night was our date night. I would go over to her house, she would make us a Pour-A-Quiche and we would watch Columbo.
I loved Thursday nights because POUR-A-QUICHE AND COLUMBO.
I anticipated going to my uncle’s, my great aunt’s, and my neighbor’s house each year, and I loved my Pour-A-Quiche Columbo dates.
But when it was time to come home, I couldn’t wait to take out my Annie album, place it gently on my dad’s record player, carefully put the needle on the outside edge of the black shiny album, and listen for that crackly worn vinyl sound before the narration began.
I would lay down, close my eyes and picture the scenes in my head.
In my head, Annie was always blonde.
During my second year of College I had a friend who helped me steal cable from my neighbor. It was the first time in my life I could watch whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to watch it.
I sat in front of my TV and “my” cable every chance I got for a month straight. And then I got sick of it and moved on to the art of drinking.
And that’s an entirely different post that I will save for another time.
As sometimes shitty as it was, I’m grateful to my parents for making the decision to be free of TV while I was growing up.
It made me use my imagination, it forced me to play and exercise, it helped build my connection to the outside, and it made me accept moments of boredom.
I also have zero memories of eating dinner in front of the television and a ton of memories of my mom and dad telling each other about their day and all of us laughing together while we ate dinner.
Suzanne Somers’ tits were great, but remembering the wagon wheel table at dinner time in the hippie house that I grew up in trumps any set of boobs (and that’s coming from a lesbian).
Let’s all start eating dinner with the people we love at the table and turn off the screens and devices. Ideas might spark, we might learn something, and I guarantee that dinner will taste yummier.
If there’s someone special in your life who you really want to help eat better, but they’re being all “But I love meat, and vegan food is gross, join PETA and leave me alone”, make them this burger with this burger sauce, and stack on their favorite fixings.
After they devour the entire thing, they won’t eat their words for dessert, they will lick them clean.
When they’re done, share your win with us over in our private Facebook group.
Stupid Simple Bean Burgers with Paprika Garlic Burger Sauce – Whole Food Plant Based.
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed well
1 teaspoon coriander powder (4g)
1 teaspoon cumin powder (4g)
1 teaspoon chili powder (4g)
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup brown rice flour (35g)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°f (175°c).
- Heat a pan over medium heat for about a minute and then add the onions. Cook the onions for 3 minutes, stirring intermittently. Add 1 tablespoon of water if they start to stick. Add more if necessary.
- Add the garlic and red peppers and cook for an additional 4 minutes, stirring frequently, adding a little water if things start to stick.
- Add the beans, coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder, red chili flakes and sea salt. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. With a potato masher, mash the mixture just until the beans are mashed (they don’t have to be mashed all the way).
- Add the rice flour and stir until everything is incorporated.
- Shape into 6 equal patties and place on a parchment covered baking sheet.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes on one side, flip, and bake for 20 minutes on the other side.
Garlic Paprika Burger Sauce
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes (30g)
1/4 cup tahini (60g)
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup (none of that cheapy stuff, k?)
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup water (120ml)
- Drain the cashews and place them in a blender along with the tahini, garlic, maple syrup, rice vinegar, paprika, sea salt and water.
- Blend on high until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.
Place a burger patty on a toasted bun or a pile of greens and top with your favorite toppings and plenty of paprika burger sauce.
I hope you have the perfect week. May you dance naked without catching a cold (even if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, those summer colds are a bitch).