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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tales from Childhood; or The Television Was Not Our Only Source of Amusement

My parents, back in the late 70s and during the time of the Purple People Eaters (the Minnesota Viking’s defensive line) hosted a number of Super Bowl parties.

The Vikings, by the way, have managed to play in quite a few Super Bowls but they have never managed to win one.

It was to one of these parties that my Aunt Pat and Uncle Mark brought their three kids, the youngest being Eric. Cousin Eric was, and is, a funny and deadpan person. At the age of four, however, he was primarily inclined toward running small toy cars up and over things.

“Vroom vroom vroom,” Eric ran the little car up and around the TV set, which in accordance with the times, was a large piece of furniture the size of a polished wooden Volvo.

As an aside, this will come as a surprise to some of you younger folk, but during my childhood, there was no remote control for the television, at least not as we know it today. “Remotes” back then were called “children”; and if you wanted to turn the volume in any direction you had only to give the command and the nearest child was required, by unwritten law, to do your bidding.

There was also no such thing as cable – at least not where we were from. It was a horrid, mean existence. Not many of us lived.

The little boy ran the car up and down the sides of the TV, and despite his mother's insistence that he "come away from there, Eric", he repeatedly found himself unable to comply for long. Sure, he'd step away. Eric wasn't a bad boy. But he always returned, his willpower drained by the pull of wheels, the pull of the TV screen that had everyone's attention.

My father, a man not particularly long-suited in patience, took as much as he could of Eric running that little red car perilously close to the television screen on Super Bowl Sunday and finally asked him, “Eric, how would you like to eat that car?”

Eric stopped what he was doing and considered it. Blinking solemnly he said, “I would not like to eat this car. But I would like to lick it.”


Even at four, Eric had it.

25 comments:

Buttons said...

Oh my gosh Pearl your ending cracked me right up:) well done. Hug B

Furry Bottoms said...

He didn't know it then, but Eric was a smart butt! :)

Shelly said...

I would venture to guess Eric is pretty successful today.

My younger daughter and her friends asked me, late one night during a slumber party of theirs, to tell a scary story, much like we used to hear of the killer with a hook for a hand. I told them, replete with dramatic pauses and deep gasps, one of the scariest stories I know, of the TIME WE ONLY HAD THREE CHANNELS ON TV! I think it still haunts them to this day.

Pearl said...

Eric recently walked from Minneapolis to somewhere -- can't recall just where -- in Texas.

With his dog.

Shelly said...

Now if he ever does that again, I hope you will join him, and bring the cats. That's pretty amazing, really-

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Your father recognised budding genius and gave him the patsy line... great uncle.

Meanwhile - I only got my first remote control with the new set I have treated myself to in the new home. Now I lack in exercise... YAM xx

Jocelyn said...

And with that, the "remote control" wins.

Douglas said...

You forgot to mention that color TVs were once "blond" or black... I am talking about the color of the console, the screens were always black and white. We got our first real color TV in 1962. remotes were... well... remote.

Diane Tolley said...

A sign of greater things. Definitely!

joeh said...

That is only cute because I am not there, it is not Superbowl and I am not a Viking Fan.

Joanne Noragon said...

Good for Eric; he could handle an adult, even at four.

jenny_o said...

Eric was the best entertainment at the party :)

Shelly, our first TV got two channels, and every so often someone had to go up on the roof to adjust the antenna ... just in case you ever need a sequel for future slumber parties :)

vanilla said...

The car takes a lickin'. Fortunately, Eric didn't.

Geo. said...

I loved this, Pearl! And I do not battle wits with 4-year-olds; they're too honest.

wellfedfred said...

Scary story: kids are whining because the remote has stopped working.
Me: Oh, just get up and walk over to the tv and change the channel by hand, like the pioneers did.
Kid: oh, ok.

Later that week, the girls are discussing whether or not the stories in the Little House series are true.
my kid: and they had to change the channel by hand too.

Sioux's Page said...

Pearl--With relatives like that, you didn't even need television. ;)

Friko said...

And he wasn’t afraid of the big bad man, your dad.

What happened to Eric? Is he running a small oppressed country? Him being the oppressor?

Jono said...

I know a few annoying little kids that actually turned out pretty good. As long as Eric like to take his dog for long walks, he'll be fine.

Elephant's Child said...

And what was your father's answer to Eric?

Catalyst/Taylor said...

Dad probably said something like "Bud Grant's gonna get you for that one, Eric!"

Daisy said...

Reminded me of the days before we even thought of having tv! Our first one was black and white, and the Lone Ranger and Tonto rode the screen!

Daisy said...

Oh God! Suddenly I feel soooo Old!

Linda O'Connell said...

You and Eric should take your schtick on the road and do stand up comedy. Love it!

Eva Gallant said...

Oh that Eric! He was clever!

Daisy said...

It sounds like Eric is the king of snappy retorts. I wish I could come up with snappy retorts, I mean like on the spot when I need them, not six hours later. ;)