Daddy's Color TV
Even though color TV was invented way before I was born, it did not debut in our home...
Even though color TV was invented way before I was born, it did not debut in our home until I was almost out of high school. I suspect we had one of the earliest Black-and-White sets in our community when I lived in the East Bottoms of Arkansas. But the only thing I remember showing on the television was the Friday night fights with that little parrot with some kind of shaving cream and a lot of snow. The picture was not just a little “snowy” it looked like a full scale blizzard. I am sure that is one of the reason I had cataract surgery not long ago, late onset of “snow blindness”.
Anyway, daddy came home one day, after we had left the East Bottoms and moved to Wynne, Arkansas and announced that he had bought us a brand new color TV. He kind of grinned when he said it, which was always a tell-tale sign that something was up. But we had already taken the bait and went running to the car to retrieve said TV set. Well, there was no TV set in the car, so we figured we’ve got to get a truck and go to town and get this thing. Our minds had already had visions of grandeur and that grandeur was in color.
By now daddy sees we have taken the bait and we are all hyped up to watch TV from our very own color TV. With that same sheepish grin, he unrolls a piece of thin plastic that is just about the size of our existing TV screen. It has all sort of colors running across it, greens, (from dark to light) and the same with reds, blues and oranges and so on. He had taped that big piece of plastic to the front of the TV screen and tried to tell us that it is just as good as a color TV set. While it did have a lot of different color it was not exactly Technicolor. Daniel Boone might be all green and his horse all blue. You see him one minute in orange buckskins and the next in pink buckskins. It kind of messes with a fellow's mind.
He kept that thing on the screen for several years, insisting it was good and a lot cheaper than the real deal. After a time I suppose we all got kind of used to it, like a wart on the end of the nose. However, when people would come over and see the TV on, they would invariably ask momma, “Mae, what in the world is wrong with y'all's TV set.” To which momma would retort, “Carl bought that thing and he won’t take it off.”
Daddy and us kids looked at that screen for years and pretended it was color... or at least got used to what we said was color. It became the new “norm”. It was our “plumbline” that we used to measure other TVs. But when you see the real thing a time or two, it became evident that the one we had was not a 32nd cousin to the real deal.
I have seen lots of religion. Folks pretending that religion is what makes them godly or even gives them peace. Folks have a really bad habit of taking something and substituting it for the real thing. We do it all the time, in fact we call it just that, “substitute”. We have sugar substitute, milk substitute, and so on and so forth. We eat stuff like tofu and say it tastes like chicken (evidently chicken is a sort of "plumbline" too). Every day we trick ourselves into believing something that is not true.
When folks aren’t content or happy in life, they substitute something in the place of that thing they are looking for that makes them happy. Lots of people are in search of joy. Having never had any real joy - only what other people told them they were supposed to have - they substitute just about anything and say, “ain’t this fun!” They somehow got the idea that joy and happiness were the same thing and so they live their whole lives thinking something is what it is not, and adapt everything else to fit that reasoning. They have yet to figure out that joy is a state of mind or spirit, and not a state of play.
So, folks live a life of pretend but have never met Jesus and think their religion has to be right. Just like my daddy with that sheet of colored plastic, someone with authority taped it on the wall for everyone to watch.
I'll tell you - real color TVs put our's to shame when I was a kid. It was not hard to distinguish the real from the fake. Once you know Jesus, you can spot a phony a long ways off.