Television has rotted my brain. When I was little, people warned me this could happen, but I didn’t believe them. I was obsessed with the typical TV sitcoms of my time (Growing Pains, The Cosby Show) but even more so, I was fascinated by reruns of programs from the 1960s and ‘70s.
These shows still take up space in my head and serve no purpose other than to invade my quietest moments. A few nights ago, I woke up at 3 a.m. and my first conscious thought was “flurpity flurp.”
As you know, “flurpity flurp” is the sound your bare feet make on plush carpet. Or, are you not familiar with the episode of Bewitched, in which a hippie warlock casts a spell on Larry Tate to make him fall in love with the slogan “flurpity flurp” for a carpet ad campaign?
Imagine a bare footed hippie warlock walking on this, and you’ll know my insanity
Sleep has been a challenge for me throughout my pregnancy. (Yes, I know this will only get worse after the kid comes out.) A coworker asked what was keeping me up at night – whether it was physical discomfort or anxious thoughts. There’s a little of both, I suppose, but mostly it’s because I’ll suddenly have the theme song from Happy Days stuck in my head.
This will inevitably lead to thoughts of the appearance of Robin Williams as Mork from Ork, which made for the most atrocious episodes of Happy Days ever, but incredibly spawned the hilarious spinoff Mork & Mindy. Then I become bothered by the fact that I can’t remember the theme song for Mork & Mindy. Then I become angry with my brain for even thinking there’s value in trying to remember the Mork & Mindy theme song. (Did that show even have a theme song? I still can’t remember.)
I used to defend my obsessive love of television because I thought it was where my creativity and humanity came from. After all, Different Strokes was the first show that made me consciously aware of racism. My Three Sons taught me how to dance the jerk. Television didn’t rot my brain, I thought; it made me a well-rounded person.
But now I see that TV only filled my head with useless quotes and catchphrases that like to play on a channel in my brain that I can’t turn off. It makes me wonder how much smarter I’d be if only I’d paid attention in Geometry class, instead of thinking about how much my teacher looked like a member of the Sweathogs from Welcome Back Kotter. Maybe I’d remember what the Pythagorean theorem is and I’d be putting that to use, instead of wondering how to work Vinnie Barbarino’s phrase “Up your nose with a rubber hose!” into my dumb blog.
All this makes me wonder how much TV I should let my son watch. Would I be a total hypocrite if I kept him away from his favorite shows? Do children even still watch TV? Or is everything online now? Maybe playing video games all day will be his thing. How much of that should I allow? Then again, staying indoors watching TV and playing video games means that he’s not out getting kidnapped, molested, or bullied – or worse – falling in with the wrong crowd and becoming a kidnapper, molester or bully. One of my biggest fears about becoming a parent is that my child will end up either the victim or the perpetrator of a violent crime. If I’ve learned anything from Law & Order SVU, it’s that the world is a very scary place.
So if I awake at 3 a.m. with random quotes and theme songs rattling around my brain, it’s a safe bet that by 5 a.m., I’ll be convinced that I’ll be a terrible mother. To calm myself from dwelling on all the ways I can ruin my kid’s life, my mind returns to flurpity flurp … flurpity flurp … flurpity flurp.
Thank God for TV.