I’m about to let you in on a secret. I did not have cable television while growing up. We also had zero video games in my house until my senior year of high school. You are wondering, how did I make it? How did I avoid turning out like a child home-schooled in the Appalachians? Well, I have no idea.
When I was young, we joked that we had Amish TV. Sorry to my Amish readership, I have no hard feelings against your culture. We really just had the six basic channels. We did have a VCR though! And a cool separate contraption that rewound our VHS tapes at lightening speed. I’m not sure what it was called, but we called it the rewinder.
We watched PBS in the mornings as toddlers, and later Wishbone and Arthur after school. All those shows are great and all, but something was missing.
My friends at school would talk about All That and Rugrats. I had seen an episode or two at a friend’s house so I sorta knew what was going on. Mostly I just smiled and focused on tracing images off my Lisa Frank folder or getting the scuffs off my sketchers.
I thought Rugrats was such an annoying show. Samesies for Hey Arnold. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. I just only saw about three episodes tops, so I never got attached.
Praise the lawd I discovered YouTube in high school. Before then the only time I had seen music videos was for country songs on Saturday nights during line dancing. Don’t judge, the Whitney’s know how to throw down on Saturdays!
My parents really wanted us to not park in front of the TV. They wanted their kids to play outside and have an imagination and stuff. They’re hippies, they were so into reading and workbooks.
My siblings and I still watched a lot of Disney movies, just no Disney channel. It’s not like we weren’t allowed to watch cable, we just didn’t have it. The neighbors did.
Well mom and dad, you’re probably the reason I get a little bored with TV shows. You’re also the reason I can’t sing the Saved by the Bell Theme (I know, Kristen, I know) or answer any trivia question about Salute Your Shorts or Bug Juice (never seen either).
Not only did I miss a generation of TV references, I also missed my parents’ generation of TV references. Kids my age watched Nick at Nite so they knew about things from their time. The other day Josh was talking about the Bob Newhart Show. I had never heard of him.
So all you other current and future parents out there. Get your kids cable. Or they turn out like me. If you know of a good therapist who specializes in culture shock, get at me.