The day we finally have a decent television is also the first time that we have eliminated cable. Show of hands now if you think it’s absolutely ridiculous what the cable company charges and gets away with. “Enough,” we said.
What this means in reality is that we have Netflix for movies and for old television shows, and Hulu Plus for current programming, which so far has been a disappointment. Our set-up requires that we use our Play Station 3 for streaming, a remote, and the game control console, hand controller thingy.
It just doesn’t feel natural for me to hold one of these, a keen reminder that I’ve never played video games and, when I did, I was lousy at it. Are you surprised I’m not good at everything? I’ll let you down easy. This is just one thing I’m really not good at.
For the most part, our TV arrangement has meant my sons watch commercial-free programming, typically with a nature theme like The Blue Planet. It’s educational, calming, and who doesn’t want to learn about the plight of the sea turtle? You somehow feel like a better human being for watching it. Just recently, it was World Turtle Day. I hope you celebrated.
When Grandpa (my Dad) came over the other day, he and my seven-year-old son decided to watch a movie together. I assumed they would watch something along these lines or another family friendly offering like Hugo or Happy Feet.
I left the room momentarily so the two of them could select a show together. I returned to see on the screen a movie starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. Hmm.
“What are we watching?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I can’t remember what it’s called,” replied my dad.
Oh really? The name of it escaped me, but I know it was something I had considered watching once.* I left the room to do a few household chores.
When I returned Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher are at a party drinking beer, flirting. Obviously not family fare. My son’s attention was already elsewhere, playing a game on the device. Grandpa’s attention, rapt. I rationalized that Grandpa doesn’t have the opportunity to watch movies everyday, and left again, seizing these minutes to do some quick chores, or maybe check my blog. Okay, perhaps not a shining parental moment.
I return once again, not even ten minutes in mind you, and Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman are laying on top of one another…naked! They don’t waste any time. We are in the middle of what appears to be a sex scene. Perfect.
“Oh, Oh. Oh,” I say, shocked.
“I didn’t…I really….I really didn’t know. I…oops,” Grandpa says, grinning from ear to ear.
“Obviously, we must watch something else,” I counseled.
Meanwhile, I’m frantically trying to manipulate the controller. Is it the circle? The X? What is it? Arrghh.
“We need a condom,” searching the end table drawer.
“We need to turn this off. Quickly.”
“Where is it?”
“Where is it?
Oh, child of mine. I handed the controller to my son. Can you please turn this off…and help mommy turn off this sex scene you’re not supposed to see. My son, completely unperturbed, takes control of the situation by fast-forwarding through probably what are dozens of scenes with sexual content. I’m not even sure he noticed they didn’t have clothes on.
Whew! That was close. Turned off, we desperately tried to find The Blue Planet or something like it. My son was typing “blue” into the search but was having trouble finding the space bar for the space. I left to get something in the kitchen, perhaps.
I return to the room a minute later and observe that my son has typed into the search function the word “fuck.”
I’m thinking to myself, Fuck? Fuck! Oh, well this is fucking perfect, isn’t it?
For my son, this is a fascinating new word that holds a lot of mystery and power, and at this particular moment in time, will be an incredibly awkward moment for mommy since Grandpa has earlier expressed that when he was a little boy, no one ever used this word, or any swear word. Ever.
“Oh, this is not the word we want,” I say to no one.
At this point, my son has spilt his chocolate protein drink all over his hair, his face, his shirt, the couch. Grandpa, already laughing before the protein drink explosion, is now on the verge of completely losing it, choking uncontrollably. I’m fearing a visit to the ER.
I guess I can’t leave these two alone for a minute.
Postscript: They finally decided to watch The Monitor Lizards. They are, after all, lizards with an attitude.
* The Ashton and Natalie movie was No Strings Attached.