In my memory the TV just seems to have appeared at the house but I don’t remember it showing up. I’m told that the TV was still in the box when they brought it home and it was not dented from having “fallen off of a truck”. My best guess is that it was purchased at the same discount department store we always went to, where other notable events happened, like this story.
I was thinking of that TV today. While I don’t remember it’s arrival very well, I remember when it left the house. A few years after buying that TV, my father carried it out of our house and placed it in my mother’s car. My mom, my brother, my sister and I were moving out and the TV was coming with us. Obviously we we’re all pretty broken up over this, our lives were changing forever but since I was seven years old I had a more immediate concern: What was I going to do when we started spending weekend at my father’s when he didn’t have a TV?*
*I mean what to do besides playing with the pet duck we inexplicably had.
The first thing I found to pass the time was Bang-Snaps, those little rolled up things that when dropped or thrown would pop. In the summer of 1981 weekends with my father’s meant 48 hours of Fun Dip and low grade explosives. I could not get enough of Bang Snaps even though they were pretty lame in retrospect.
Revisionism aside, to a seven year old Bang Snaps were awesome but they ran out too quickly. To make it worse, when you ran out of snaps, there was a whole mess of powder left in the box just going to waste. Like the great scientists before me I saw opportunity; why not get some paper and roll up some more Bang Snaps from the powder left in the box… but what kind of paper do you roll things with…?
I ran to my dad and innocently asked:
“Hey Dad, you got any rolling papers?”
My dad reached for his pocket the stopped and looked at me like he just got kicked in the groin. I wasn’t sure what I had done but I knew it was wrong and I knew I had to get out of it.
When dad regained his composure he asked me where I learned about rolling papers.
Learn about them? Five seconds before I just made the word up, or so I thought. Clearly I had stumbled into a universe I wasn’t supposed to know about, just like the books under the couch.
Quick kid…find an answer…
-“Well, who taught you that?”
” m….m…Mom” (It seemed like a reasonable answer).
Well, he didn’t give me the papers and later when my mom came to get me I sat in the car alone for a long time while they talked in their outside voices. My dad got another TV shortly after that day. Dad probably just got the TV so we could watch the Mets; the fact that we’d never have to talk about drug paraphernalia again was just a bonus.