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The Visitor

The Visitor

The stranger in our home.

by Author Unknown

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave?)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush.

My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... and NEVER asked to leave.

More than 50 years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures. His name?

We just call him, "TV."

And the stranger has a wife now. We call her "Internet."

November 3, 2007

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Visitor Comments: 38

(38) Anonymous, December 11, 2016 2:40 AM

There is so much truth to this story. I've heard it before.

(37) Anonymous, February 14, 2011 7:16 PM

reveals the danger

This story explains the danger of television. Of course it can be used for good - and should be - but the truth is that we often allow things in media format that we would not allow in physical life. We "go" to many places through the TV that we would never think of going physically. How many children have "visited" barrooms through TV that never shoudl have been allowed inside?

(36) SarA, February 3, 2011 5:25 AM


Well said - interesting veiwpoint.

(35) Mom of 2, February 3, 2009 1:59 PM

Say goodbye for good..

There is so much talk about limiting the amount of time spent in front of the television, but I have NEVER known anyone that actually had the kind of self-control that some claim to posess. The best thing for my family was to get rid of it all together. My two boys spend hours outside each day and they get along great. The one year since we said goodbye to tv has been awesome for the physical, mental and spiritual health of our family. Say goodbye to it, you will not regret it and you won't even miss it for long.

(34) Esther, November 28, 2007 11:35 AM

Don't agree with the point of the story

I think the error in this piece is that there was no judgement used in what to watch. If you have a "nebuch" person in the community whom it is a chesed to invite into your home, you put up with conversation from them that is inappropriate sometimes because it is a mitzvah to be kind to them. But, the TV will not be insulted if you only watch speciifc programming. That has nothing to do with the TV itself, and everything to do with using your own good judgement.

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