Growing up, there was no TV in our house. The New Kids On The Block music videos sounded pretty cool especially the Hanging Tough video that included lots of hanging tough arm waving but instead of learning all the dance moves, I was busy building forts in the tree tops and…reading books.
I didn’t realize how shameful and awkward this “no-TV” situation was until the first Gulf war when a grade-four friend was concerned at the lack of a TV in my family’s living room; she cornered me on the playground to debate the devastating effects of my parent’s decision.
“What if the Iraqi’s invade Canada! How would your family and I get to safe hiding in time?”.
And my logical response:
a) we lived in butt-f***-nowhere and I was pretty sure the Iraqi’s didn’t care about bombing our particular remote Canadian city.
b) provided the Iraqi’s were interested in our city, I was pretty certain they wouldn’t promote their intentions through the daily news channel therefore negating the positive effects of owning a TV in the face of possible war.
c) at the end of our street, 20 feet in the air stood the remnants of a WWII air-raid siren that miraculously still worked.
d) the American’s initiated the war, not us peace-keeping Canadians who had nary a bullet in our shiny rifles, what threat were we really?!
Grade-four was equally life-altering not only because of The New Kids On The Block, the start of the first Gulf war and the poignant realization of how dangerously odd it seemed that there was no TV in our house. It was also in grade 4 that as a class we watched The Wizard Of Oz. We didn’t watch it in the comfort of our desks, instead the class gathered in the library/music room at the south end of the school. We sat on the carpeted floor staring up at a 20 inch TV sitting on a metal cart with wheels; the VCR making clicking noises and the screen flickering the entire time.
The class didn’t watch the movie in one whole sitting, it was broken down into segments.
It was during the first segment when we got to the part where the wicked witch enters the long room where she kept her multiple human heads, I’d had enough. I stood up, all my peers sitting quietly, intently watching, anticipating what was to come next. I tip-toed around my classmates sprawled on the floor and left the room.
My concerned teacher followed as any concerned teacher would do and I politely asked if I could be excused from watching the film, suggesting as an alternative that I sit in our classroom and read a book.
Yep that’s right, I wanted to read a book.
My decision to read a book in lieu of watching The Wizard Of Oz with the rest of my classmates brings us to the other fourth-grade life altering realization that didn’t include how ashamed I should feel about the lack of a TV at home.
See there was a boy who decided that he didn’t want to watch the movie either and to this day I can’t decide if he REALLY didn’t want to watch the movie or if he wanted to just sit in the same empty room as me. From grade-four until we graduated High School he was always there like a shadow when I turned around, just there, waiting for me to be nice to him for once? I promise if I bump into him I’ll apologize for a least not being nice.
My dating anxiety grew from those quiet, self-imposed, grade-four reading sessions in a mostly empty classroom. I was a worried little kid realizing for the first time that I couldn’t control which boys decided to like me and there was a possibility I might like some boys more than they liked me. Worse of all, I realized that with enough persistence it was possible that I might be able to be convinced to like someone back as much as they liked me.
Frankly, I was suppose to be the one in control, picking which boys were allowed to like me! But understanding that this was not to be the case and needing to protect my interests, by the time I graduated from High School and dragged myself to College I’d narrowed down the rules on boys and dating to one solid rule.
To sum it up, I unwittingly choose an anthem with dumb lyrics as a guide, you know the one:
Be, be aggressive
B-e, be aggressive
You never know
Just who you’re up against, so
B-e, b-e aggressive
B-e, b-e aggressive
I admit it has evolved over time, however the “be, be aggressive” lyrics did come in handy the time when my idea of short-lived longevity wasn’t exactly shared and interpreted the same way by my date and well, I got a taste of that thing called “the witness protection program” only it wasn’t the law that helped in assigning me a new identity, it was my close friends. 🙂
To dating, staying safe and…in control…whatever that means LOL!!