Today, I’m going to give you all a little snapshot into my neuroses. It’s almost as neurotic as my theater ritual. You see, I punt away an entire day of my week, every week, no matter what month or year it is. I remember Sunday, and I keep it holy… because of television.
As long as I’ve been an adult, or at least been making half-assed overtures at being an adult in my early 20s, Sundays have been the day with a portion dedicated to television. It started late in the 90s when I was first out of college. I was living with my friend Jeff, who occasionally writes here. We were in Madison. In the late 90s for a 22-year old, Sunday was the one day of the week that The Simpsons came back after a six-day hiatus. Jeff and I were both poor, scrounging desperately to make any sort of living. I was making almost literally nothing while trying to create a career in baseball. But no matter what, when Sunday rolled around, it was party time.
We’d squirrel away what little cash we had for the best meal of our week. That meant buying a ring of sausage to put into our $3 box of Zatarains gumbo. The ritual started around 6:30 pm. We’d start drinking- either an awesome local Wisconsin beer or Canadian Mist- and try to time dinner exactly at 7:00, when The Simpsons came on. By the time Homer and gang showed up, we’d be mid-meal, dribbling rice and boxed beans down our face as we cackled away at Matt Groening’s creation. Then came Futurama, which was a new show at the time. The nightcap to the whole evening happened around 8:30 when we’d head on down to the Muskie Lounge (yes, that was a real tavern in Madison at the time) to continue drinking and throw darts. Then the horrible work week would start the next morning and I’d start dreaming of the next Sunday.
Life changed. I moved to Duluth, then Sioux City, and finally St. Louis. I bounced in and out of relationships, Futurama ended, I approached my 30s at breakneck speed, and even gave up on my dream of working in professional baseball. The Sunday dart game also ended when I moved to Duluth but Sunday always remained holy. I watched The Simpsons and Futurama every Sunday (at least until Futurama died). I found new friends to watch with, but the programming didn’t change- at least not at first.
Then I learned about The Sopranos thanks to my friend who once met Kevin Meany (and was babysat as a kid by the sister of Nuclear Man in Superman IV). That extended the holiness of Sunday a few years. From there, I’ve noticed that my Sunday TV obsession has become a national Sunday TV obsession. In fact, I’m sure that most networks follow the HBO model, choosing to show their tent-pole programming on Sundays. Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Dexter, True Blood, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Boardwalk Empire have all become weekly Sunday viewing. Even Family Guy, King of the Hill, and now Bob’s Burgers have gotten into the action. The Simpsons are still right there.
Along the way, people in my life have noticed how ridiculous I am about the sanctity of my TV Sundays. Even now, Jeff- once my partner in crime for Sunday apathy- likes to joke that I “don’t roll on Shabbos.” That’s because I embraced Sunday’s TV laziness. It’s become my day to prep for my entire week. It’s when I do laundry, run errands, buy groceries for the week, and (as of the last three years) write a few articles for early in the week here at TDYLF. You might get me out and about and social the first six and a half days of the week, but come Sunday at 6 pm, I’m stationary.
Remember the Sabbath. Keep it holy. Maybe just don’t be such a damned weirdo about it.