AFTER THE ELECTION, whose results were either received like news of terminal cancer or a Royal Flush on the flop, around the same time the kids began to express themselves with sentences that began with the word “When," but used a picture to substitute for a predicate. The election so polarizing that people in the same household could threaten to abandon the country they pledged allegiance to in grade school, they learned catechism for, to a new one that just weeks earlier looked to conform to their pastime of citizenship, now beyond disrepute. While the others, they’d look right through the candidate who oozed pathetic emasculated mantras that left no demographic unoffended, for the hope of an economy whose mapping would reflect a hockey stick, with the proper scaling. It was after this election that Saul found himself on the latter side of this demarcation, an event spawning the loss of all ability to communicate with anything other than his television.
Beginning with 2001, in the years leading up to this ostracization, he began contributing to the viewership statistics of Fox News, with still a little Larry King in his diet, as well as evening basketball - both professional and collegiate. The fair and balanced allocation of TV time began to swing, however, nearing 100% Fox News by 2005, though total time limited to six hours an evening, as family man duties necessitated. In his 2008 retirement, he took the 100% F.N. after work information intakes to nearly ten hours each day. By 2015 he set out to watch every minute of live F-News, becoming the most faithful channel 46 tuner, winning staring contests against the “Panasonic” branding daily. With 15 hours of live content each day, but an hour of G. Gutfeld shit you could take or leave, and in the digital video era of cable, the commercial breaks could be skipped through, which could allow for the necessary life functions of bathing, eating cycles, very efficient sex, and looking up at the dinner table. He was doing it all, becoming a sponge for the content of the “real political scientists” out there. He was checking the boxes required to earn the status of present husband and father, he was even able to smile at his liberal neighbors - emboldened, and riding a wave of contempt so utterly fulfilling that, in such a state, one could only feel empathetic for those whose systematic worldview allowed for food stamps, and environmental care, and consideration of living in some Stalinist land like Vermont. The new renaissance man - brave in political sympathies, yet cordial in society.
He had his day down to a science, wake up at 6:00 AM, stream the morning news on the way to the community pool, where he’d swim laps with waterproof earphones that went on sounding like the guy on his four-inch screen.
Back home by 7:00 AM and the kitchen TV's blaring something coming from the guy with lapels as the morning breakfast gets grinded and mixed and eaten. Switch the broadcasting back to the phone for a movement on that seat with a large hole, orchestrated by flax, regulating a schedule more efficient than electronic calendars can facilitate. 8:00 AM now, and we’re showering, watching on the four incher still, watching Disconcert-atives. This is usually when his wife, my stepmother, Janice says, “can you turn that down? I’m still sleeping.” Changed and shaved, it's to his home office where Paul Whiteman preaches to the four walls, and through the open door, while Saul checks emails, and begins to queue up the phone lines. This lasts until lunch; a reheated entree from last nights dinner courtesy of Janice, while the kitchen TV pixels are put to work once again. And now, once the fish or chicken is put away and the dirty dishes are left in the sink, its time for the 100-inch TV viewing experience of Q or A. For some reason the content mediated through the TV in the Family Room on such a large screen seemed more authoritative than when it was consumed through his phone. He’d be more prone to say “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as if a woman were on top of him in his bedroom, when the man speaking was larger than his real-life self. He could recline back in his lazyboy, and allow his spine to go full-extension. This would go on until 3:00 PM, when his phone said “Walk” and the U2 song I Will Follow started streaming in his head for a split second. He’d go on his 30-minute stroll, and return and do the same shower drill, and be back in his lazy boy by 4:00 PM. He’d remain here until his wife yelled, “dinner!”, where a max of 30 minutes could transpire to keep him on schedule before another six-hour education in the same lazyboy, affront the same TV. In the final descent, he’d crawl into bed next to his sleeping wife with five and a half hours until he’d resume “going to war with my boys”, residing to the left side of the mattress a brave brave man.
Daniel Erickson is a CPA living in Seattle, Washington.
"Untitled" by Kendall Hanselman