Parental Guidance

My son, Jack, walked into the living room a couple of days ago and plopped down on the chair next to me while I was watching TV. It made me think back to evenings, years ago, when I’d plop down on the floor to watch TV with my dad. I would’ve been about Jack’s age. My dad would be sitting in the living room chair designated as “your father’s chair,” the seat in the room with the best angle on the TV. The chair no one else was allowed to sit in. Ever. I’d lie on my belly near his feet, a big pillow scrunched under me. I’d have my big pad of paper and I’d draw fighter jets versus flying saucer battles. Or maybe I’d just silently watch the show.


Image Entertainment

Image Entertainment

We had one TV back then so we watched whatever my dad wanted to watch. Some nights it’d be “I Spy,” the weekly adventures of two international secret agents under cover as international tennis players. Other nights it was “Combat!” the weekly adventures of a rag-tag squad of World War II soldiers fighting their way across Europe. (Vic Morrow, the star, would always yell “Cage! Littlejohn!” whenever he was in trouble and he needed Cage or Littlejohn to help him.)


Maybe it’d be “Wild, Wild West” the weekly adventures of two secret service agents under cover in the old west. Or “Rat Patrol” the weekly adventures of a rag-tag squad of World War II soldiers fighting their way across the African desert.


Jack and I were watching “Girls,” the weekly adventures of a rag-tag bunch of 20-something women living in New York. It’s on HBO. Lena Dunham, the creator and lead character of the show had been doing PR on talk shows and I was curious what her hipster dramedy was all about. The adventures in this particular episode included Lena snorting a whole Ziploc bag of cocaine with her openly gay friend while they talked about the people they had sex with, Lena pulling off her shirt in a dance club, then putting on a completely see-through mesh one for the rest of the episode. Meanwhile, in a “B” plot, one of the other 20-something women ends her date naked in bed with a naked, humping man on top her while they exchange witty banter.


Cage! Littlejohn!


Yeah, times have definitely changed. I’m okay with that, usually. Really I am. I’m not one of those sappy old guys, nostalgic for busy signals and 8-track tapes and twenty-five cent gas but this was one of those shake my fist, back-in-my-day moments.


The naked, humping man scene made Jack leap out of his chair, “well! I gotta go!” and quickly leave the room. But I knew he and I had one of those father/son-bonding moments just then, the priceless kind they feature in credit card commercials.


Ah memories…


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