With summer approaching halfway over, my children keep pestering me to go out and do things. As much as I may think of them as pestering me, it’s really nice that they want to be outside and doing things. When I was a child, going outside felt more like punishment.
Back in 1983 we had cable tv and a pay movie service called “Superchannel”. Other kids around had “1st Choice” which was another movie channel. The two combined in 1984 to become “1st Choice Superchannel”, but that’s not really important here… When we first got cable tv, it seemed like it was never turned off. I ate meals in front of it, played with my toys in front of it, I even used to stare at it until my eyes focused on the individual lines on the color tube. That summer was spent watching a lot of movies. Many not so appropriate for children. If I wasn’t watching in my home, I’d head over to a friend’s home and watch. I saw many films that made me question the world around me or films that scared me so badly that I had to sleep with a light on for many years.
However, one film in particular has had a special spot in my youth. It brought me great joy and a love of musicals. No, it wasn’t “Annie”, although that was pretty good. It was “The Pirate Movie”. It was cheesy, campy and full of fun. I spent a few hot summer days watching this film. Superchannel would send out a TV guide of when their movies were on- and I marked every time that “The Pirate Movie” was playing. But when it would end, the tv never got shut off. I saw films like “Young Doctors in Love”, “Pink Floyd: The Wall”, & “Alien” that probably shouldn’t have been viewed by a seven year old. Many more films entered my living room that summer, many more age appropriate mind you, but it kept me indoors most of the time. This became a regular occurrence for many years to come. I rarely ventured outside. I’m not saying I didn’t, but rarely seems about right.
Then in August of 1991, Super Nintendo entered my life. This wasn’t my first video game system. But something about it had me spending more time than ever playing on it that summer. I played Super Mario World and found every level. That summer was spent in my bedroom playing video games nonstop. It was awesome. I have fond memories of my tv and me together.
My children are pretty much growing up with the opposite of my childhood. They are constantly outside playing, walking around parks, & generally experiencing life outside of our home. Oftentimes it’s me that tells them to stay inside and watch a movie with me or play MarioKart. Because that was how I enjoyed my summers as a child. Honestly, they are having a healthy balance of inside and outside time this summer. Our theater room has been used less this summer than in the past. I don’t see my children ever becoming tech-zombies because they are so full of life and enjoy hanging out with other people.
My life has become a better place having my wife and children in it. They are opening my eyes to a world that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Sometimes I feel the need to show them my childhood memories, so I’ll put on an old film from the 80’s and we’ll sit back and enjoy it, no matter how cheesy it may be. My kids usually love it.
It’s my wife who questions my taste and why I like certain films. So I’m off to try and find “The Pirate Movie” now in order to share its beautiful campiness with them.