(I uncovered this 2009 draft I wrote as I was recently looking through some old files.) 

 

A couple are attending an event at school, watching their kid perform. They are sitting next to another couple, watching their child, who is also performing. They strike up a conversation (they are already acquaintances, not friends, although it is obvious that they like each other and have a lot in common). One couple proudly proclaims that they do not let their kids watch TV and that they do not even have cable. The other couple says that they too do not have cable and that TV watching is only allowed in the house on weekends. The mother of this couple adds though that their youngest child gets around this by watching TV on the computer. The computer is allowed in the bedroom because the child ostensibly uses it for homework. But they find him up watching hulu often; that is, watching TV on the computer.

Switch scenes. The second couple at home.

It is nighttime. The mom is knocking on the kid’s door. The kid is not responding. The mom says “I want to respect your privacy, but it is late at night and we want to go to bed.” The kid says “Just a sec.” It takes considerably more than a sec and the parent has to ask numerous times. Finally, the kid opens the door a little. Agrees to go to bed “soon”. The mother has to ask a few times. The father comes upstairs, knocks on the door at 11:30 or so, and tells the kid firmly that he must go to bed. The kid gets angry but finally agrees. The father goes to bed. About a half hour later, the kid opens the door, turns on the hall light, goes to the bathroom, opens and closes doors loudly, and so on. Goes back into his room and the light is still on when the mother wakes up at 1:30. She knocks on the door. The kid is angry and says that the mother should let him make his own decisions because, after all, she is always saying that she wants him to be more independent and to tell him what to do is hypocritical. The mother pleads “But it is 1:30 in the morning on a school night!”. “Ok”, the child agrees. I will just watch five more minutes. The mom goes back to bed. At 2:30 she is awaken again because the light is on. Finally, at close to three o’clock, the child is asleep. The mom falls asleep and almost immediately is awakened at 6:15, just before her alarm goes off. She looks out the window and sees a few other houses with their lights going on.

Somehow, it turns out that the entire town is having the same issues. The kids like the same shows and do the same things. Even the older child in this family – although not addicted to tv – plays on Facebook and texts all night. The parents in this town are completely strung out. They all look haggard and weak.  It turns out though that this is true in the next town too. In fact, it is true in the state, in the country, all over the world.

Finally, the parents can’t take it anymore and they revolt. They take all of the computers, TVS, and cell phones, and they toss them out. They throw them out while the kids are at school. They grab them out of the kid’s hands. Landfills become piles of electronics. Kids are shell shocked and all they can do is watch, stunned. There is a frenzy of activity as parents take back their lives like revolutionaries in historic wars.

It reaches a peak and then calm persists. The next scene, the original parents are at the kitchen table. They no longer have dark circles under their eyes. The family is with them and they are all playing Boggle. Later, the mom is typing this story on the computer that she keeps hidden in her closet.