Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The Stranger

A few years after I was born, my father met a stranger who had just arrived in town. Right away my father was fascinated with this stranger – and soon he invited him to live with us in our home. This stranger was welcomed and has lived with us ever since. As I was growing up, I never had any doubt that this stranger does not belong with us. In fact, in my own mind, he had a very special place. Our parents were our teachers – my mother taught me to choose between good and evil, while my father taught me how to be obedient. And the stranger....he was there to tell us stories. For hours we were captivated by his adventures, mysteries, comedies and all kinds of entertainment. At times we laughed with him, at other time, we were even brought to tears. If I needed to know something about politics, history or science, I would go to him and he would always have an answer about the past. And at times he even predicted the future.
This stranger never stopped talking, but this never bothered my dad. At times I noticed my mother would get up after listening to him, and would head to the kitchen, while we sat next to him, and kept interrupting each other so that we can listen more attentively. I’m convinced that there were days when my mother wished this stranger would have disappeared. My father always insisted that we follow good morals and practice our faith, but our stranger never felt comfortable following the same rules our household. For example, we were never allowed to use vulgar language or obscene words or curse – never. But our stranger often used colorful words and got away with it. My father would be very uneasy when this happened and my mother would turn red in shame.
My father never let us use alcohol, but this stranger regularly encouraged us to try it. He even spoke openly about sex, using very suggestive language, and showing very embarrassing images. In fact I can say that my first encounter with relationships was introduced by this stranger. Frequently he would oppose the values my parents instilled in us, but they never reprimanded him, or asked him to leave. He’s been with us now a full 50 years! He is certainly part of our family and has inserted himself quite well in our family’s day to day life. It’s true he’s not as fascinating or sensational as he used to be in his earlier years, but if you were to visit my parents’ home, he’s still there, in his favorite corner, waiting for someone to sit in front of him to hear him talk, and admire the images he presents continuously.
By the way, I never told you his name – he is called Television.

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