As I see it, there were three reasons why I woke up at four in the morning. One was that I had jet-lag and in Madrid-time that was about ten in the morning, and I don’t recall the last time I had slept to ten in the morning. That was due to the second reason, which was because I was a parent and once you become one, that’s to say, once you have children, you never recall what it’s like to have sleep late or long again. You say to yourself, when I get older, everything will go back to normal, but it doesn’t. You never recover that habit of sleeping endless hours in a state of unconscious bliss. That will only happen when you are dead. And that was due to the third reason, which is that when you get older, you don’t need to sleep that much anymore. I think I read that Kissinger used to get something like three hours of sleep a night when he was Secretary of State. That’s all he needed. And that was before the days of cable television.
Most Americans don’t appreciate cable television anymore, which is a shame because they don’t know just how engrossing all that crap TV can get. Most people like to say they are repulsed by all that’s on, but I think they are lying because they are afraid. I think that’s why a lot of people lie in general.
When I was growing up in the 80s, we had about forty different channels. Now the digital TV companies provide hundreds. Frontier is a firm which is based out of nearby Stamford, Connecticut, and it had just bought out AT&T’s service in the state in 2014. My parents have done nothing but complain about it since then, though Dad doesn’t do much complaining now. I don’t think it mattered much to him, anyway. Except for an occasional movie, he was content watching FOX News, and that channel never seems to go.
Mom couldn’t stand the change. But that might have been because she against change in general. She says that TV hasn’t been the same since Frontier took over. Now it’s a mess. I bet the people at Frontier wouldn’t like to hear that.
I wanted to give the offer a good look, so I flipped through about two hundred channels when I finally came to one that featured crime shows, especially true ones. I have an affinity for these shows but I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid too. Maybe. There are a lot of shows on this subject I guess because a lot of people have been murdered in this country, and just about every way and every motive has been used. That night Forensic Files was on the agenda. Each episode lasts about half an hour including the frequent commercial interruptions, which I am normally freed of in Spain.
Peter Thomas’ unwavering narration kicks off the forthcoming story. Thomas is 91 years old and has been around the voice-off business for five decades, which means he didn’t even start until he was forty. When he was born, Coolidge was our president, man had yet to cross the Atlantic in an airplane, and it would be three years before The Jazz Singer, the first feature length talkie, would be released. Yes, a lot has happened since then.
Thomas is three years my father’s senior and he still makes a living recounting some of the most heinous crimes that have ever rocked this country’s rather rich of history of brutal violence. He calmly discusses the dismemberment of a 25-year-old woman and then probably spends the afternoon making paper flowers with his great granddaughter.
One episode talked about a guy who kidnapped and killed a teenager girl and her half-brother. The perpetrator was a rather confused dropout from the town who everyone knew. He shot the boy in the head. The girl ran out of the car and into the woods. So he chased after her, caught up and shot her in the back. Seeing that she wasn’t dead yet, he walked up to her and shot her in the head to finish her off. They call it a coup de grace because it’s supposed to be some kind of show of mercy. Then he left and returned a little while later to decapitate her and cut off her hands. He threw those parts into a lake. They caught him and sentenced him to death because they found several notebooks he had written about how much he liked to kill animals and lop off their heads. The day they executed him, he said sorry for what he had done and that he promised the two kids didn’t suffer. He asked the family for forgiveness, but I don’t they ever granted it.
This and other tales kept me occupied before until the day’s light arrived. Lots were about spouses doing each other in for insurance claims. Others retold events concerning parents, children, siblings, and other members of the extended family inflicting some of the most unimaginable acts of violence on each other for some of the most inexplicable reasons.
I came to the conclusion that if you were having issues with your kin and money was at the root of the problem, your life expectancy forecast dropped dramatically. I made a point of it to be extra nice to everyone while Dad was still alive. And even beyond.
Only cable TV could teach you these things.