A man chooses to stay home from work for a day, not because he is sick, but just because! He starts to eat breakfast and decides to watch TV. He finds a TV show that shows a man going to work and his duties throughout the day. The second day the man decides not to go to work again and he watches the same program. The only difference is that today he recognizes that the man on the TV program is himself. He is watching his own day at work. The TV self is more ambitious, more of everything. The home self continues day after day, watching his TV self. He flips channels and sees his TV self as a catcher of jewel thieves on one channel, a doctor on another channel, and on another a popular lover. On still another channel he is a scientist, who has invented a way to bring people back from the dead. His home self is confused – he wants to control what his TV self does, but he has no control. His TV self runs rampant across the world, helping, killing, saving, buying, raping, stealing, making love, and running away. Eventually the man comes to see that he has a mind, which is like a fist, wrapped tightly around a single thought. He cannot open the fist for fear the thought will fly away. He knows he must hang on to that thought no matter what it costs. As time progresses, the home self keeps changing the channel, but cannot find his way back to his office and to work. He cries himself to sleep some nights because he doesn’t understand what is happening. He picks up the phone and dials a number. The phone rings and rings, but the nurse doesn’t pick up. Then in the end he opens his fist and the thought is GONE! (The TV by Ben Loory)
This article was confusing at first. Then I decided he was seeing himself as he could be, not as he was. He wanted to be more and be better, so that is why he saw himself in such grand roles on TV. He started with just wanting to be better at his job, improving his mind, studying to learn more about the business world. Then he wanted to be a better person, one who helped humanity, onward to being a great lover of beautiful women. Somewhere along the line, the bad side of him began to emerge with the stealing, drug dealing, and other horrors.
I wondered why he was so intent on watching his life as he wanted it to be. Maybe we all would like to see ourselves in a better light. I know there are many times I’d like to be able to pause and re-run a facet of my life and do things differently. So maybe he was doing the same thing through his TV self. Possibly that was his reality in the end.
I tried to imagine watching myself on the TV at the end of the day. Would I be satisfied with what I saw or would I be discontent? Did I treat others like I would like to be treated, did I do an ‘outstanding’ job at work, did I do the very best I could, did I learn something new, or did I take time to ‘smell the roses’? It would be an eye-opener for most of us. We do things on the spur of the moment and...