Slackjaw
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Slackjaw

The Five Stages Your Parents Will Go Through When You Use Parental Controls To Block Cable News During Your Visit

Photo by Rubenz Arizta on Unsplash

Your father will loop through all of the channels, slowly picking up speed with each lap. Depending on your parents’ leaning, your mother will passively blame Trump/Obama from the other room. Your father will have several false successes when he lands on an episode of The West Wing, a rerun of The Apprentice, and any station playing a Cialis commercial.

Dad will begin smacking the cable box, but his attempts to assert dominance over it will prove futile. Mom by this point has worked herself up into a frenzy and is fully ranting about, depending on your parents leaning, every one of Trump’s/Obama’s slights against America/Democracy. Your father will furiously call a service representative, who will attempt to reset the parental controls from his desk. Unfortunately, you will be in the other room immediately re-enabling the parental controls after each reset.

Your parents will ask everyone if they’d be interested in a change of scenery. Dad will call several bars, only to be told they only play sports on their TVs. Mom will then call a local gym, and while they do allow news on the shared TVs, Dad is still not allowed back after being banned for starting political arguments with other members. Dad will momentarily consider changing his name before Mom suggests getting a hotel room. Your parents will only consider a specific hotel they have points with, and it is booked up for the next week. Your parents make a reservation just in case.

Dad is often caught staring longingly out the window. Mom will often join him and will quietly hum either, depending on your parents leaning, the main tune for Fox and Friends or Rachel Maddow. Dad sometimes will make vague political commentary about the events outside, dubbing birds Republicans and squirrels Democrats. While he’ll say it’s insane what those birds and squirrels are up to and that it’s scary where this country is headed, you can tell there’s no passion left behind his words.

A shift takes place and your parents begin to remember old hobbies. Mom picks up painting again and dad starts working on his world-famous chili recipe. Mom looks into taking art classes at the local community garden. Dad talks about buying an entire cow and learning how to butcher it. They begin to smile. This is new, they didn’t do that when they were absorbed in politics. They seem happy. Mom is in the middle of her newest piece, when the phone rings. She finds her way to the landline, smudging a bit of paint on the phone as she picks up. It’s the hotel confirming their reservation. Dad comes in from the kitchen with ground beef all over his hands and paprika in his hair. Mom hesitates… “I don’t think we’ll be needing that reservation after all.” They’ve come a long way. You still leave the stations blocked.

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Brandon J. Talley

CA based comedy writer. Published in McSweeney’s, Slackjaw, Points in Case, and more!