Otherwise known as “Watching Marshall, Will and Holly on the Color Television at My Neighbor’s Place.”
My wife is eighteen years, one month and twenty-seven days older than I am, and eighteen years, one month and twenty-seven days cooler than I will ever be.
Funny, how it never occurs to me that this is a weird scenario until I look at it, in print (although, in all fairness, where I live, the statement became weird when I get to the word ‘wife’).
She graduated from high school the year I was born, and when I was learning to drive that 1989 Pontiac Grand Am, she was the age that I am now, sitting here, typing this out on the dining room table, while she fastidiously pays bills that I would ignore for at least two more months. Take that, hospital!
It seems like all of this should be a big factor in our relationship, or a factor at all, but, I cannot stress to you enough, it’s nearly undetectable. It never comes up. I never pay attention to it.
I ALMOST never pay attention to it.
Yesterday, I totally paid attention to it.
Let’s hit rewind.
Dear God, we’re about to have generations of kids who don’t know what that means, in regards to the Blockbuster video. They’ll never even know what a Blockbuster Video Store is! They will have no concept of images and movies that need actual housings in order to be purchased and played, everything they see or watch or hear will just exist within the confines of the device.
Fuck, that’s scary.
But back to my story:
In our little family, we have a summer tradition of eating in front of the Big TV. Flat, sleek, black and about seventy inches in diameter, The Big TV is the most beautiful thing that I own, and it isn’t even mine. It was my wife’s before I came into her life, and it is the reason I stayed with her.
I am not kidding.
Sometimes we watch movies (think Cheaper By the Dozen or Little Giants, nothing Oscar-worthy), sometimes we watch episodes of Naked and Afraid or Chopped. It is not a fancy exercise. No one wears real clothes, we prefer pajamas, and we cover the dog couches with blankets to avoid eating an inordinate amount of Great Pyrenees fur.
Sometimes we finish one episode or movie, and it’s still light outside (y’all remember making that argument to your parents?), so we HAVE to watch something else. That becomes an issue, if I leave it to the children. At least, that’s what I tell myself in order to excuse the fact that I always pick the shows and I always pick shows from my own childhood, the ones I want to watch, and I never care what anyone else says.
I am a horrible parent. In my defense, though, have you taken twenty minutes to peruse the Disney Channel lately? And what the hell is Teen Titans Go?
It never occurs to me ask Bae what she wants to watch, because Bae’s childhood and Bae’s Memory Gardens are the places fun and happiness and imagination go to die. I dream in rainbows of color, she dreams in grey. I cried when we walked through the gates to Magic Kingdom, she took notice of the intricate tile work on commented, at length, on the uneven lines of grout. I love water parks, she loves.. Camping, or hiking, or various other activities designed to make me sweat (and not light, sexy sweat, it’s gross, fat man on an exercise bicycle sweat, the kind that permeates your clothes and leaves you smelling like the back alley dumpster at the Italian restaurant).
“What about Land of the Lost?” she piped up, out of nowhere, when I was literally about to gift my children with the pilot episode of Legends of the Hidden Temple. Remember Legends of the Hidden Temple? God, that guy was a smug douche!
“Land of the Lost?”
“What’s Land of the Lost?”
My kids are inquisitive little asshats.
“You know, the one where the dad and the kids get sucked into another world in an earthquake?” Bae looked at me, and I nodded because I did not want to appear stupid. I do that a lot, nod so she thinks I know what she’s talking about, when really I’m wandering around in my next novel, sorting through conflicts and hairstyles and body types so not every damaged heroine looks like Abby Wambach. I make no apologies for that. “Come on, Voss, I make that sleestak reference all of the time…”
My wife does make that sleestak reference all of the time. She usually says “He walks like a sleestak,” or “I have sleestak feet.” I have no clue what it means, but I always pretend to. Before she knows it, she will have spent ten years with a dipshit masquerading as a genius. Insert evil laugh.
“Okay, cool, let’s see if we can find it…” All the while I hoped NOT to find it.
Low and behold, this shit is on YouTube for free!
Now… I am not a cinematic elitist, not by any means. But… There are distinct holes in this plot. For an entire episode, Will and Holly are trapped in a net and he needs to steal a knife to cut them out, BUT HE’S CLEARLY WEARING A KNIFE ON HIS BELT. They sleep in the same clothes they wear during the day, but they don’t wake up with wrinkles, Holly’s pigtails are always perfect…
Ironically, my children are transfixed by these rubber, anatomically incorrect dinosaurs and their horribly inept human traveler friends. Hell, they can’t look away.
“I loved this show when I was little,” whispered the absolute and honest-to-God love of my life. “I had to go to the neighbor’s house to watch it. We didn’t have color.”
Three pairs of human eyes and four pairs of their canine counterparts all turn in unison.
“You didn’t have color what?” The nine year-old asked.
“Color TV,” Bae is so excited about Land of the Lost she was mid-sister-text and had not realized how shocking her words were to the smaller versions of ourselves that take things like wifi and cellular technology for granted.
“You didn’t have color in your TV?” The six year-old gasped. “Was it broken?”
In that moment, as the realization dawned upon me that the woman I wifed up in Massachusetts grew up with a television that did not have color in it, I can safely say it occurred to me that there is a slight difference in age in our relationship.
A slight difference.
As in, computers have always been a part of my life, but they must seem like modern marvels to her.
Moments passed. The nine year-old turned back toward us. Then..
“Well if this is what y’all thought dinosaurs looked like in the old-olden days, I’ll bet the ending of Jurassic World was, like, super confusing for you.”