The Stranger

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
February 27, 2008

A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small 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 to welcome me into the world a few months later.

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 the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. 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 her room and read her books (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 was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in the home, not even for cooking. 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 fifty 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 were to walk into my parent’s 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.”
He has a younger sister now. We call her “Computer.”

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15 comments
  1. This is an old writing; I heard it for the first time about thirty years ago. I wonder if it comes from a tract?

  2. awax1217 said:

    My friend had an antenna. My sister lived in an ivory tower. Well, not Ivory, it was black and attached to a key board.

    • It seems that this Stranger has become a comfort in a lot of homes…….

      Thanks for your comment…

      Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

  3. Did not expect this ending. Very good post! When we had the stranger leave our home (disconnected our cable), it was very freeing indeed.

  4. Well written and so true! Thankfully we have chased this stranger out of our house!

  5. One of my dad’s favorites was “Gunsmoke,” He loved it, I think, because Matt Dillon was such a manly man. Then, one Friday evening, one of the characters used a four-letter word. Dad got up, shut the TV off, and we never watched that show again.

    My husband and I reared our kids TV-free. Lots of times, they resented it. What I’m seeing now, though, is that they don’t watch it much at all.

  6. Reblogged this on Morning Story and Dilbert and commented:

    This is the most viewed post in one day for 2014…. I hope you enjoy it for the second time around….. Happy New Year… Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

  7. You had me puzzling. First, I thought the stranger might be Jesus with the power of story telling; then i wondered if he was t’other fellow with his profanity and embarrassing remarks. I should have guessed-TV and baby sister, computer!
    Well done!
    All the best to you and all your readers for 2015.
    Julia

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