“What the hell are you doing?”
He’d been standing in the doorway for a few minutes, watching me. I guess I could’ve asked him the same thing, but my attention was elsewhere.
“I’m watching the Big TV.”
He looked at my living room window.
“Ah, drunks say the darndest things. So it’s 11p.m. on a Saturday night, and you’re sitting at home, apparently drunk or just stupid.” My roommates are very observant.
“No, this is the coolest channel ever,” I said, raising the glass in my hand. He laughed.
“So you’re just staying above it all tonight, then?”
Actually, I was in the epicenter, taking all of it in through the maybe six- by three-foot window in my DP apartment’s living room. It faced the inner courtyard, off the street, of the oceanside building, and, as usual on any weekend night, there was a wild party outside.
“So if this is the Big TV, what channel are you watching?”
“Not certain. Maybe the Nature Channel: Observe the ritualistic mating dance of the DP Fiend. A low, repetitive and rhythmic bass emanates from the open doors, signaling sexual readiness and perhaps even open beds inside. The females strut about the yard, swinging all of their endowments to attract the males’ attention. The most successful are the least clothed, and this is the law of the jungle.”
Outside, one particularly swinging chick had stolen the attention of a guy standing amidst his pack, the tallest among them, and lured him into a corner by the stairs.
“See, it has all the makings of every single TV show on, any channel you like. There, for example,” gesturing to the new couple, “is the love story. A twisted, Del Playa style of love story, but those are the kinds that TV loves to tell anyway.”
The couple groped each other vaguely in time with the beat as they made out. The guy’s pack watched enviously and stared around, seeking swinging chicks of their own. Apparently these, however, were all sidekicks, unable to make any sort of decisive move without their leader present.
My roomie looked my way. “Now all we need is some action.”
The timing was impeccable. A row of hooting and hollering in what must have been the deepest voices these freshmen could’ve mustered went up, and a circle developed out at the balcony overlooking the ocean. The two contenders were inside it, their respective packs yelling insults at each other while encouraging their fighters.
“I’ll back you up, man. Hit him!”
“Yeah, punch that fucker in the face!”
It was the only thing they agreed on. The force of the hits echoed my way with the sickening smack of flesh being squished at high impact. After a few minutes, one of the contenders went running. “Most violent reality show ever,” I said to the roomie.
There isn’t any explanation, and who cares anyway? There’s no telling why people like hitting each other. At least this TV never tries to blame it on me, or itself, or anybody. This TV has yet to try to tell me what to think.
A bang demanded our attention back at the window. A face was smooshed grotesquely against the glass. The mouth began to work around, leaving slobber trails on the pane. “This is the greatest beer ever,” the distorted figure said, holding up his red plastic cup, and staggered away.
“See, there’s even commercials. That guy was lying through his teeth about that beer, but he seemed to have tricked himself into believing. Just like TV. Only better.”
The party raged on, and girls continued to strut their stuff back and forth across my window. I chose to drown the madness out with some loud Modest Mouse. That’s the one thing: no volume control on this TV. But it’s real life, so why watch it happen a million miles away on the other side of some camera-zapping shit through Cox Cable. Even when I need a break from participating, I’ve got all the action I want right outside my window.
Daily Nexus assistant opinion editor Cory Anthony doesn’t even watch his real TV anymore.