It's bad enough I'm being forced to watch the very dregs of television. My daughter makes me watch "Deadly Women," my wife forces "Teen Mom 2" down my throat and the boy inflicts the sheer hyperkinetic terror of "Adventure Time" and the derivative shlock of "The Cleveland Show" on my sensitive palate. I can deal with bad TV-I grew up in the '70s, so trust me: I've watched at least one episode of "Love Boat."
It's the pausing I can't take.
It takes my family three hours to watch "Hoarders." They turn a 30-second commercial into a 10-hour miniseries. I swear to God if they hit pause again, I'm going to throw the remote into the blender. My family are pause-aholics. There is no cure.
It's not just the pausing that sends me into a conniption, it's the implications. If I walk into the living room, the girl will hit pause until I sit down. Now this might sound like a conscientious act, but the glare on her face and the white-knuckling of the remote tell a different story. I'm a giant intrusion, a Godzilla attack on the Tokyo of her televisonary experience.
The boy is worse. For him, "Supernatural" is not divided into episodes but into lessons on the occult. His constant pausing to Google the names of demons and the titles of musty old tomes turns a 44-minute glorified Scooby Doo into a decalogue only an angry Russian ex-patriate philosopher could ever hope to finish.
My constant gasps of incredulity get me nowhere with these people. They are children of the future, and in the future, there is no such thing as continuity, and suspension of disbelief can be as fractured as the lives of the intolerable skanks they can't get enough of on "16 and Pregnant," "Animal Hoarders" and "I Used to Be Fat."
I tried to institute a no-pause clause but was met with jeers of protest. My daughter actually played-paused-played as she explained, "You're pause-play so old-pause-you think pause play-pause only come on bears and-pause-dogs-play." I tried to rattle off a snappy retort but she wouldn't give me the remote and just turned the volume up until I left the room.
It's insidious. We were driving to the store to get batteries for the remote, arguing about the fate of Egypt, when she tried to pause the radio to make a point. When it didn't work, she rolled her eyes as if the car was at fault for not coming with a pause button. It scares me because if she's my Star Trek Future baby, then her every complaint about my antediluvian tech is an indication of what kind of head-swiveling technology I'll be trying to figure out when I'm old. I cannot imagine the sheer incalculable death stats that will rack up when they can finally pause radio.
I'll just drive directly off a cliff and save myself the aggravation-although I'm sure, halfway down, the girl will pause me midair to ask me to get her a Coke on the way home.
Christopher lives in Chicago with his wife and kids and can also be found at deathbychildren.com.
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