Author's preface: This is a repost of an article I published on an alternate yet eerily similar web publishing platform way back in 2017. It includes an addendum I later made to it in response to my own serious concerns about the way my parents were portrayed. I am republishing this now along with a companion post that is linked here because I think that together the two articles make for a compelling story. One (this one) a lighthearted and humorous tale that I ended up very much regretting, and the other, which describes why I felt that way and what I tried to do about it.
It’s not fair. You have them all day everyday. I only get to talk to them briefly when you go to commercial break or when Dr. Phil or the Price is Right Comes on. They used to have other television friends. They liked corny old sci-fi channel and my dad used to hang out with ESPN every once in a while. They even would spend a half hour or so at local news broadcast’s house most nights. But now you get to be with them almost all the time.
I’m afraid you are beginning to be a bad influence. They used to be so trusting of everyone, even strangers. Now they barely want to leave the house. I asked them why not and they said something about how dangerous it was out there now. I tried to point out that we live in an all white old people development in the suburbs. There hasn’t been a crime committed anywhere near this place in, well, in maybe ever. Apparently you told them something about how that makes it the perfect place for the terrorists to strike. Now I see them jump out of their seats every time the doorbell rings. This only happens once or twice a week and each time it is UPS or the post office dropping off a package.
I also think your thinly veiled racism has begun to effect their thinking. If I am going out now they won’t let me leave without a warning about staying away from “the bad side of town.” I ask them what is so bad about it and they reply with “you know, those people live there.” I can tell they are ashamed of themselves when they say it. Almost like their old selves are still in there trying to break through but your hold on them is just too strong. “Those people are all on welfare, they have more kids then they can afford, they are all high on pot” Once I tried to point out that pot addiction is not a real thing. “But Dr. Phil says that kids these days are getting addicted to dope in record numbers, and another doctor on Fox News said pot addiction was turning teenagers today into criminals.” Me explaining that nobody has called weed dope since the 1960s was not going to help, so I simply went to my room and shut the door. Incidentally Fox News the reason I shut the door is to keep you out. You are so loud. I know my parents are losing their hearing but do you always have to yell.
They cancelled their last vacation because you told my mom, who was already a very nervous flyer, that terrorists are specifically targeting American’s going on vacation by plane. When I asked her how “the terrorists” know which planes are carrying the vacationers she says “well they are really smart with computers, Fox News told me they have hacked into all the airlines databases and cross referenced each passenger against that persons destination. If a plane has a lot of people flying to a tourist hot spot that gets targeted.” I try to point out that I think she may have confused the terrorists with the NSA she laughs. “Oh Danny, the NSA would never do that to us, we’re Americans. Besides even if they did a little snooping we have nothing to hide. I don’t mind. Fox News says only criminals and terrorists are worried about their privacy. In this day and age everyone shares everything what with the Facebookers and the tweets and snapchattering and all that.”
Finally Fox News I really don’t like you bringing around your best friend Donald Trump over all the time when my parents are around. They get enough innacuracies, half truths, and fake outrage from you. Now your bestie is telling them lies about how they can help make America great again. I try to point out that they both complain endlessly about how awful everything was when they were younger and how great we have it today. They won’t let a day go by without informing me how lucky I am to be alive now in this golden age of technology and plenty. I need to stop complaining all the time because back in their day etc. etc. When I point this out they fall silent for just a moment. Then just as I think I may have broken through, the commercial break ends, and you call to them “up next on Hannity, two hundred thousand dollars to study the mating habits of brown salamanders. Why is the government wasting your tax dollars to fund this kind of smut? Find out coming up.” I know I’ve lost them then. “Can you believe that Dan? What is this world coming to?” Damn you Fox News. Damn you.
Authors note: This is a work of fiction. My parents do watch Fox News a lot. Way too much for my liking. It has changed them in some ways I find sad. However, it has not changed at all how I feel about them; how much I love them, how grateful I am for everything they have given me, or how much respect I have for them. They have never spoken of or even hinted at any racist thoughts or beliefs. However, it genuinely saddens me that they continue to watch and listen to material that clearly has racist overtones. Moreover their support for Trump and his policies has left me saddened and even at a loss for words. We have never really seen eye to eye politically but it was never a big deal really until Trump came along. He seems to represent the polar opposite of everything they raised me to believe was important. I freely admit I did not always live up to the ideals they set for me but those ideals were clear and unambiguous. Do not lie, do not cheat, do not steal, be modest in all things, don’t be greedy, love thy neighbor, treat everyone with respect, turn the other cheek, be the bigger person, etc. I could go on and on. Trump fails miserably in obvious way in all of those areas and yet thy still support him and his agenda. I blame Fox News for this. Perhaps I am giving Fox too much credit or just trying to make excuses for my mom and dad. In any event I hope they come to see the man for the charlatan he is. If not, that’s ok too. I will love them no matter what.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Original narrative & well developed characters
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme