A Farmer Revisits His Old Hometown

By guest columnist Foghorn Lee Jones

Howdy there, stranger!

I’ve been away from these parts for a while, and I’ve just come back for a howdedoo.

I can see not much has changed in the Village of Cable TV since I’ve been gone.

You still watch your shows on someone else’s schedule.

Those annoying commercials still pollute your mind.

And that on-screen channel guide is still as ugly as a cowboy’s teeth after 20 years of chew. Truly, it’s got a face only a spreadsheet-masochist could love.

I just do not know how you put up with all that hooey.

Gosh darn, it’s like living in a shack out back of your parents’ farmhouse, getting bossed around with all these ridiculous rules, and curfews, and sanctimonious sermons.

It’s like, “Hey, I want to watch House, Ma.”

“Not right now! It’s not on till Monday night! So come watch this informercial with your Mama. The Sham-Wow fella is such a sweetie!”

“Uh, maybe another time, Ma. That grin of his reminds me of Grandpa on his way to the outhouse. But, hey, Pa, wanna catch up on Vampire Diaries with me?”

“What the–? Did your Mama drop you on your head when you was born, boy? Vampire Diaries was on last night! It’s done now. Besides, only girls and sissies watch that show.”

“What about Mad Men, then, Pops? That show’s done full of fine, upstanding male role models. You wanna watch that one?”

“Boy, I said boy, it’s like you have no sense of the calendar anymore. You’d go and plant your corn at Christmas time wouldn’t you? Mad Men’s not on till Sunday. And besides, it’s on some weird channel we couldn’t done afford anyway.”

You know what I mean? Nothing’s ever on when you want to watch it.

It’s like the folks that put those channels together are your parents and they just want you to watch educational shows about naked folks in hot countries until they feel like getting around to putting on a new episode of Law and Order.

There’s only so long I can let my tender young mind dwell on how gravity affects the human body, you know.

I do declare.

But all you folks seem okay with it. You don’t seem to mind living by the TV schedule of some bigwig in New York City.

Heck, I’ll bet your picante sauce comes from there, too.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging none. It takes all sorts to make the world go ‘round and maybe you like it that way.

What’s that? A PVR?

Yes, I know what a PVR is. I’m not some hick country boy that was birthed in the colourful manner you just described.

Anyway, yes, I know you can record TV shows and watch ‘em later. But that means dealing with that goldarned on-screen channel guide calamity.

Quite frankly, I’d stare at Bessy’s behind for an entire afternoon rather than even glance at that channel guide thing.

What’s that? Oh, Bessy’s the mule that lives up behind my Pa’s barn.

I mean, I’ve had hair removal sessions that are less painful than using them three tiny lines to find one TV show that’s on sometime this week somewhere on one of them 900 channels.

How do you do it?

But, you know, there’s actually one thing in particular that I cannot understand.

Commercials.

How do you survive them?

I heard they’re intended to work like Chinese water torture.

You know, they just drip-drip-drip onto your eyeballs all night every 5 or 10 minutes until you rightly go ad-crazy and run straight down to Wal-Mart and buy that box of cereal or tin of coffee just to try and make ‘em stop.

And then they don’t.

They just keep dripping away.

You see, where I come from now, there ain’t no commercials. We done chased them outta town like the varmints they was.

Actually, one tried to sneak back in last week and I’m proud to say my young son Johnny done shot it dead with his BB gun while he was out hunting squirrels.

In fact, there ain’t no channels or schedules where I come from neither.

We can watch whatever show pleases our interest, whatever time of day it happens to be.

No, sirree, no naked pygmies neither. Unless that’s what turns your crank, of course.

Why, yes sir, that’s a very good example. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of TV shows.

If you like, you could always drop by my home and I’d be happy to give you a little look see. The missus, she makes a mean glass of lemonade!

Personally, I live in the fine town of Apple TV. But I’ve got plenty of happy friends in other districts, too, places like Netflix, Plex, Boxee, Hulu, XBox, PS3.

I recognize it, too, sir. The Village of Cable TV was once a fine place to settle down and raise a family.

But those days are over, you’re right. It won’t be long until this place is a dust bowl just like old Antennaville, where our forefathers made a living before us.

Well, it was nice talking to you. You take care now. Say hello to little Sally-Anne for me, won’t you?

Foghorn Lee Jones is a farmer from the Apple TV district. He proudly grows daisies, sunflowers, watermelons, and rice on his plot in the neighbouring district of Farmville.

Originally published in the Yukon News on Friday, October 1, 2010.