Friday, December 4, 2020

I Like PBS, and I Cannot Lie

There I said it. I cannot believe I have to fess up to this, but here it is. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Yeahhhh, so what’s the big deal?” Well, I’ll tell you. Picture it … Peoria … 1971. (You’ll have to excuse me. I just binged all 180 episodes of The Golden Girls.) 

So, my dad actually brought public television to Peoria. He believed the Peoria area would benefit from educational programming, and once Phil Weinberg set his sights on something, it would pretty much happen. He worked very hard to make it happen, and I have to give him credit for this and his many other accomplishments. So there. I did, and on with the story. 

How did this affect me, you ask? Let me nutshell it for you. There was one station we were allowed to watch in our house when my dad was home. I’ll just bet you can figure out which one it was. Yep, all the other kids got to watch Sanford and Son, but I had to watch PBS. All the other kids got to watch The Brady Bunch, but I had to watch PBS. All the other kids … well, you see the pattern. It goes on FOREVER.

I loved all those years of watching PBS, as you can imagine (she said with sarcasm and attitude). I loved them so much that I swore when I left home, I would never watch PBS again, and if people asked why, I would say, “I was forced to watch it as a child.” 

Disclaimer: I broke this rule when my girls were young because Sesame Street was on two times a day in Champaign … on PBS … and for two hours a day, I could plop my children in front of the TV and have some sanity for myself. Yes, I used Sesame Street as a babysitter, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

So, now that you know the background, here’s the update. When the pandemic started, the governor held a press conference every day, and I liked to watch them because I geek out on press conferences. It’s a fact. That was something I worked with in my professional life, and I liked to watch them to see how well they were run, how well the questions were answered, whether they used correct grammar, etc. I even enjoyed the sign language guy.

The Chicago area PBS station, WTTW, posted the full conferences on their website every day, so I was able to watch them whenever I wanted. At some point I realized to my shock and dismay (remember I’m still sort of new up here), that I was watching PBS. Not a happy day for Andee, but there it was. After several months I thought I really should make a donation to this station that had provided so much viewing pleasure for me, so I got a Passport Membership.

That was the gateway. There’s always a gateway. And before I knew it, I was getting emails about various shows for Passport Members. I thought I would at least read the emails, and before I knew it, I was looking at their website for more information. Let this be a lesson to you. That’s how they get you.

Turns out there are many shows I want to watch. I just looked for a few to mention here, and there are SO MANY. I can’t even begin to list them, but they have documentaries about everything, historical dramas, informational shows, shows about the arts. Ugh, there are so many shows! I was invited to a zoom-type presentation called Behind-the-Scenes of Chicago from the Air. I love Behind-the-Scenes shows, so I read more. Before I knew it, I had registered. I didn’t even know there was a Chicago from the Air program until I saw the email with the Behind-the-Scenes invitation. So, I watched that. It was quite fascinating. So now, of course, I have to watch the actual Chicago from the Air show. 

Fun Fact: Did you know Chicago was built on a grid? AND … the diagonal streets were constructed following the trails used by Native Americans! I learned this by watching … God help me … PBS. I told my girls about this and where I learned it, and they laughed a lot and said, “Bet Grandpa is laughing right now too!” 

Dammit. That’s all I have to say.

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