The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Turn the TV off! I can't take much more


August 24, 2017 | View PDF

Over the last few days, I did something I rarely ever do—I turned on the television. And that, for good or bad, left me wondering about the sanity of the entire planet. And, in no small measure, my own sanity for having turned it on.

I have been assured by She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Made-Mad that whether or not I was insane was never really in doubt. She’s also promised to loosen the straps on my straitjacket if I promise to eat my squash ... which will never happen. I like this padded room way too much to sell my soul to the devil and eat squash. Just ain’t going to happen.

Anyway, over the few days I had the television turned on, I discovered (depending on which channel you turn it to) a lot of startling things about politics and U.S. history but even more startling than all of that: the cool painter Bob Ross had died.

Honestly, I was surprised that Bob had passed away ... not so much the fact that he had died maybe 12 years ago, but how it had happened without my knowing. Bob and I were like regular buddies back when I was in the navy. While I was serving onboard the U.S.S. Manitowoc (LST-1180), my mother accidentally taped a show of Bob painting some flowers. Thinking it would be funny, she sent it to me in Norfolk, Virginia, where our ship was home ported. Not wanting to waste a good tape, I have spent the past 25 years trying to emulate his skills. Just as soon as I can find a hat like his, I am going to try and finish that first painting. By the way, did you know that Bob actually started his painting career in Alaska? I didn’t until I looked it up. Seems he was inspired to take up the brush while serving at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks. I believe Walt Disney was also inspired to be creative while he was painting ships in the navy.

How about that? Bob, Walt and I were all inspired to paint in the military. I must admit, however, most of my inspiration came from having Petty Officers Ed Turley and Brian Galle threaten to dunk me if I didn’t paint faster.

I can say one thing about my painting skills as compared to Bob and Walt. Of us three, I guarantee I am the better haze-gray painter.

I sure was sad to know Bob passed away. Next thing you know, someone is going to tell me “Mork from Ork” died. That’ll be a sad day, for sure.

After recovering from the news of Bob’s demise, I was shocked for real to hear about the violence in Charlottesville, and all the controversy about the Confederate statues. Having “growed up” in the South, I must say I never really thought too much about it. I must admit, however, that my brother and I did get our pictures taken one year at Five Flags Over Texas in Confederate uniforms. SWMNBMM and my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Renee, blurted out they liked men in uniform so we put on the gray. Understand, we did it as a courting statement. I was trying to impress my Texas Belle ... I couldn’t very well wear my sailor suit and look like an ice cream man, could I?

Back to TV. This news that blacks, whites, browns and everyone else can’t get along was surprising. Apparently I lived my whole life in the only town where everyone lined up on the same street for Fourth of July parades and played football together. I didn’t realize I wasn’t supposed to adopt a black child, or have a Mexican grandson.

Wait a moment. I’m not so sure “other son” Carson Alldredge didn’t “adopt” us. He just showed up with my two sons one day and we’ve stayed friends for years. He’s actually one of the greatest young men I’ve had the pleasure to be around. Works hard. Takes care of his family.. Knows how to pick up his own shoes ... which is a trick we could never teach our other children. Here’s the funny thing about Carson—through his real father (a retired U.S. Marine), he is actually a relative of Gen. Robert E. Lee.

I think there’s a lot of Texicans that didn’t get the race memo ... We also haven’t gotten the one that says the Cowboys can win again, either.

As for The Donald ... I admit, he does kind of go off on tantrums faster than my 10-month-old granddaughter. But, there’s a point everyone can agree on: He is way more entertaining than watching the Kardashians (which, ahem, of course I know nothing about since I don’t watch TV.)

With all that “news” to digest, I found myself turning the channels to every station, a lot. That, more than anything, probably explains why SWMNBMM took the remote away and had me try on this fancy coat.

All in all, I have to tell you: Television is way overrated. Turn that thing off, go outside and talk with your neighbor. You might find out the world isn’t as crazy as what you see on TV.

(Tommy Wells is the editor of the Seward Phoenix LOG. Everything in this column is true, except for the parts that have been fabricated, exaggerated or are just plain lies.)


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