Lost in the mists of time is the exact date that our family acquired a remote control for the television. It may have come with the advent of cable, or maybe the invention of digital controls. Whenever or whatever, the salient feature was, for my mother, the mute button. After years of commercials, she was now able to shut out the sound of things she did not like. The world, for us children, was forever changed. I hated the silence.
Upon leaving home, I was able to return to the normalcy of awful commercials, uneven sound levels, and the general cacophony of what passes for entertainment. Only when visiting my parents’ house would I be reminded of the mute button. It was enough to make pleasant visits unbearable.
This morning, while reading the paper and drinking my pot of coffee, my wife announced, with great pleasure, that she had found the mute button on the DIRECTV remote. As I struggled to grasp the ramifications of her pronouncement, a silent room took over my consciousness. The television was on, the picture showed a commercial, but no sound came forth. This event re-occurred several times over the next thirty minutes, until finally I could not take it any more. I begged for a cessation of this ritual, an abeyance of the muting practices. To no avail.
It was then that I realized, during a moment of reflection in a silent period, what had happened.
I have married my mother.