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
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
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
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
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.
See more of Christopher's stories here.
What to do with your weekend, delivered every Thursday.
Great deals and chances to win prizes, delivered every Monday.
Exclusive offers from our partners,usually delivered twice a week.
Resources for parents of children with special needs,delivered the second Tuesday each month.