Monday, June 26, 2017

Antenna TV – Great Prep for Death


What a terrible thing it will sound like I'm saying, which is that AntennaTV (to which I've happily consigned myself for a couple years now after giving up expensive cable) is great prep for death. Not for 'dying' - because you could never imagine from their lively depiction on AntennaTV Gracie Allen or Redd Foxx or Bea Benaderet or Joey Bishop or whoever played the first Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace or Bonnie Franklin or Dick York or Elizabeth Montgomery or Johnny Carson or Eva Gabor or Sherman Hemsley or Patty Duke or Eddie Albert or Agnes Morehead et al "dying" - they're completely as alive as they ever were, maybe more alive than they ever were, in their eternal sit coms.

No, AntennaTV is great prep for 'death' as the seemingly inevitable blunt final vanishing which, so far as we know from this side of it, sort of cancels itself out as no longer provable after the fact. We may have seen the dead body of a loved one ("loved one" is the fave phrase in most of the full-of-dire-warnings-commercials on AntennaTV) and therefore once have seen what we took then as sufficient evidence that death had occurred, but afterwards - nothing, poof! vanished. And yet it isn't as if whoever vanished never existed. They existed with absolute stunning full force, and sit coms are one of the many categories of proof of that. There's plenty of proof that we lived. But (if you weren't there to see it and even if you were) there's really no evidence of not-living afterwards.

So what we're left with, or what I'm left with when I watch, say, Jay North who played Dennis the Menace & was (like me) born in 1951 & is still alive, I see somebody whom I can still imaginatively inhabit, and in whose performing skin I can trot thru all the sit coms, not just his, and peer into the evidence of life they eternally offer. I can do that until one of us - Jay North or myself - undergoes whatever vanishing Eva Gabor et al underwent; if Jay North vanishes before me, I'll have to forge on ahead alone, knowing however that I can visit Jay any time I want to as long as he's being Dennis the Menace on AntennaTV; if I go before Jay North, well, the point of life or death will be moot, and certainly no proof of the latter can really be had because I was not on a sit com. (You could find it on Facebook and Youtube, though.)

So I suppose I should say that AntennaTV is great prep not so much for one's own death, or really anybody's individual death, but rather great prep for facing the unfathomable abstraction 'death" is, the vanishing it seems to represent, and how little that vanishing means compared to the bursting 1966 life of Samantha, Darrin & Endora on Bewitched which is eternal. There's no such thing as almost anything we think we know. Now there's a sentence to chaw on whilst you watch Joey Bishop. (Did you know he had a sit com? I sure didn't until AntennaTV showed me that and, well, so much else.)


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