About 4 weeks ago in August, the building where I live was finally got a satellite dish which was capable of offering over 100 channels including current movies, sports and special events. All the tenants were asked if they wished to subscribe for the cost of $20.00 per month, which is extremely good as I pay over $48.00 month for cable and it does not offer even half of the channels, let alone the free 'Pay-Per-View' events.
I have been enjoying this ever since then but have found out that there is so much to see, if I allowed myself, it would be all I do each day, every day. As a result, I have been limiting myself as to how much time I actually spend in front of theTV although it is quite difficult lately as most of my friends are 'dropping over' to catch the football games, soccer and pay per views.
The only thing that I was careful about was that I didn't want my retired father to find out that my building now had satellite TV. Not because I don't enjoy my Dad's company, but it is like most things in life. It is good in moderation and if he found out that I had over 100 channels, he would be over here day and night along with his drunken elderly pals who at best can be described as loud and undesirable.
Anyway, I asked myself 'Do I really want Dad over here when I am having a party with friends or even watching the porn channels?' Well the answer was a real no brainer - "Hell No!"
On top of that, even if there were sporting events that Dad never watches regularly, he would want to be here to view it if it was on pay-per-view.
According to his insane logic, if he can see a pay-per-view event for free, he feels he is saving money even though he would never pay to see it in the first place. Sounds a bit crazy you are saying to yourselves? You're right, it is. But what can I do, that's my Dad for you.
In order to avoid any of this certain unpleasantness, I figured I would simply keep my mouth shut about the satellite in order to maintain some sort of peace and quiet in my life. What Dad doesn't know, won't hurt him - right?
So anyway, I have been enjoying lots of these events on TV lately with a great number of my friends (both old & new - it is rather amazing how many new friends you manage to get when you have a lot of satellite channels as well as a big screen TV). And of course with this comes the advantage of being able to save a lot of money since all these guests bring with them a great deal of free liquor as their offering!
Then one day it happened. Things were going so well, I forgot and I slipped up. I made a fateful mistake which resulted in my father finding out about this little secret.
One evening my gossipy & loud-mouthed sister dropped off her son, my young nephew Mikey, for me to look after for a couple hours while she was going to get her hair done. (Yeah, I thought. All the new hairstyles in the world aren't going to help the looks of that plain-assed head of my sisters. I kept those thoughts to myself, of course).
So since I was only looking after Mikey for a couple hours, I did what any bachelor who is forced to baby-sit children do, I gave him something to eat, put him in front of the television and handed him the remote to 'have at it'!
The time flew by and Mikey was so happy and delighted to see a TV with so many channels, (his cheap parents only have basic cable, I suspect) that I think he spent half his time just changing from one channel to the next.
I didn't think anything of it until the next day when I was talking to Sis on the phone and she said that Mikey had told her that I had a 'magic box' attached to my TV which got stations from all over the world. Laughingly, I told her about my satellite dish just to clarify what he was talking about it and then foolishly I added "But please don't tell Dad about the dish or he will be a permanent fixture in my apartment."
Well clearly when I made that comment, my conniving and scheming sister took that to mean 'please immediately tell Dad about my satellite dish without delay just so I can say goodbye to my privacy'. In hindsight, I can see how she got those two statements mixed up, because that is exactly what happened.
The next day I arrived home from work and about ten minutes later there was a knock on my door. It was Dad and his friend 'Old Pete' as he is referred to his antiquated friend.
"We were just downstairs visiting Harris and thought we might pop up here to say a quick hello." Dad advised with a somewhat deceptive look in his eyes.
Both he and Old Pete pushed there way in uninvited, grabbed a couple Guinness and plopped themselves on the couch in my living room. Fortunately the television was still off as I had just gotten home.
Harris, who Dad was referring to, is Mr. Harris the building manager who unfortunately is a good friend of my fathers'. I say unfortunately since it gives Dad an excuse for being in my building at somewhat inconvenient hours without my knowledge.
"Thought we would just come up and have a quick beer while we wait for Harris to finish his work. He should be up here shortly and we are all heading down to the Legion to watch the Football match from Manchester that is on the satellite. If we get there early enough it is only $10 per person to get in" Dad advised.
As he said the word 'satellite' his eyes narrowed and I knew he had something in mind and was up to no good.
I knew right away that he was now aware that I had satellite TV but he was not going to mention it, he wanted me to tell him first. There was no way that was going to happen since he is playing a ridiculous game and if he wants to watch a soccer game, he only simply needs to ask, but his pride would not allow it.
My Dad has always been a very stubborn man and I think that I take after him on that score. I am just as stubborn as he is and as a result, we were at a deadlock.
Meanwhile the usually loud and obnoxious 'Old Pete' was uncharacteristically quiet as a mouse, staring directly at the blank screen of the TV. He kept fidgeting which was a sure sign that he was getting quite impatient with both my Dad and myself. As a rule, 'Old Pete' usually has disgusting sounds emanating from both ends of his body, which are generally greeted with hilarious laughter by his elderly ilk, sadly one of those being my father. Today even those horrible noises were kept 'in check'.
Dad began to get the look of an old hound who is waiting to be given a bone, very quiet and patient. Still I was not giving in.
Finally the silence was broken when there was another knock on the door. It was Mr. Harris.
As he came through the door he turned around and blurted out "So how is the reception with the new satellite dish? I have had to do a couple of small adjustments for some of the tenants on the lower floors of the building."
I pretended to play dumb and responded accordingly. "Oh the dish, I forgot all about it. I really haven't had much of a chance to watch TV so I can't really say."
"Satellite dish, you have a satellite dish here in the building?" My father asked, pretending to sound surprised. His poor acting skills clearly left a lot to be desired. I don't think he rehearsed enough prior to arriving here today.
"Of course he does, Simon." Mr. Harris interjected. "Everyone in the building subscribed for it except for poor old Mrs. Handy, who is blind as a bat. Don't you remember me telling you about it earlier?"
Dad muttered something inaudible to all of us, however knowing him, I am sure it was a profanity of some sort.
"Let me just turn in on for you and check the reception." Mr. Harris advised as he starting clicking through the channels.
"Reception looks just fine to me." Harris concluded. "Do you want it shut off before we all get going?"
Before I could respond, Old Pete suddenly yelled out impatiently "143, turn it to channel 143!"
Old Pete had been so quiet the entire time he had been here that his outburst gave me quite a start as I had actually forgotten he was still here.
Mr. Harris clicked over to channel 143 and there it was, what a unexpected revelation. English football!
"Well, Well, Well!" Dad blurted out trying to sound surprised. "Look at that, it's Manchester United, Pete. We can see the Red Devils right here & save ourselves a couple bucks in the process."
Dad had a huge grin on his face and he looked over at me laughing.
"There's a lesson in this for you, boy. Don't keep secrets from your old man. I have been around a lot longer than you and I am still pretty clever, even for an old boy."
He was right, he did outsmart me tonight. I just laughed at the whole entire foolish game we had had been playing with one another. I felt kind of stupid for the whole thing and was going to tell Dad just that when suddenly the door buzzer rang from the main lobby downstairs.
As I got up to answer it, Dad yelled out behind me "That should be Glen and Derek. They are bringing the beer and pizzas. Let them in quick boy, I'm famished."
All of a sudden, things did not seem that funny anymore.