My Life On Screen

All television is children's television.
~ Richard P. Adler

Television and I have been likethis since I was knee-high to Inch High Private Eye and Phyllis Diller had yet to have her first face lift. Yeah, it's been a long time.

The phrase "before my time" has no meaning to me in regards to television (or actually, to most things, thanks to my sharp curiosity and voracious reading habit), as I grew up watching reruns of shows produced well before my natal day. Still do.

So it probably will come as no surprise that my childish yet fertile imagination ran wild with the creative possibilities of television. Some kids were dealing with imaginary friends and the nuances of playing Cops and Robbers. Me -- I was figuring out which sitcom characters reminded me of members of my family.

Did you ever think about life as a metaphor for television?
~ Chuck Palahniuk

Exhibit A: My Nana and what I saw as a physical resemblance to Endora from Bewitched. (aka Agnes Moorehead). Same dyed reddish hair. Same twinkle in the eye. Nana never did wear caftans or that fab blue eyeshadow that were Endora trademarks -- but nonetheless, my six-year-old self still saw a likeness.

Exhibit B: My Daddy Pete (maternal grandfather) and Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz, of course!).

I never knew my Daddy Pete -- he died when my mama was only five years old. Dropped dead of a heart attack while shaving. As she was so very young, all I really know about him is from pictures and family epherma. He was a Spanish teacher at the local junior college. In the Navy Reserves. Had a wicked sense of humor. And was a dashing, handsome fellow. He and Nana spent quite a bit of time in Havana before Mama was born -- back in the days when a trip to Cuba for the weekend took no time at all from Florida.

So I think that when I tried to conjure up an image of Daddy Pete, I gravitated towards the closest relatable persona -- Ricky Ricardo. A dashing Cuban with a wicked sense of humor and an infectious smile.

This may seem rather weird (hell, it seems weird to me), but it gives me a strange sense of comfort. Even though I never had Daddy Pete as an active part of my life, I did have Ricky Ricardo. And my nana is long gone from this world -- so a glimpse of Endora gives me a visual image of her instantly.

And it works for me. Which is all that matters.

By the way, I did this same thing with my parents. I'll just give you the visual of their television counterparts -- which should come as no surprise...

Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.
~Homer Simpson

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