HANDOUT 1 - "Mind You, I Love Video"
by Frederick Jerome
In these tele-wise days any set owner is liable to have a breakdown. Telly-types who haven't had a thought in their heads for years have suddenly collapsed as if they were overworked tax collectors. They have inherited a host of people who stay longer than relatives. Those who can't afford or won't spend the few hundred bucks that a good TV set costs are latching onto the lapel of their neighbors.
The truth is that tele-partying, although offering a small tax on the mind, is of all human endeavors, the most dangerous to the human system today. This applies to both the host and the guests, invited and otherwise.
If the night's TV program involves a big variety show, an opera or 5-match boxing card, there are drinks to be served, food to be dished out and the midnight snack. Which puts one in the category of operating a night club sans license and cash register.
My pity, however, also is for non-set-owners who flounder from friendly neighbor to the typical smart video party. My heart bleeds for them. For, of all man's inhumanity to man, surely the grossest example is the modern tele-party.
To begin with, there is never any place to sit down unless you (a) run all the way from home and get there first, which is considered bad form, (b) sit on someone's lap, (c) curl up cozily on the floor, which makes you look silly and besides, is apt to get you stepped on and injured for life. It seems not matter how large the home, the seating capacity must always be exceeded by about ten guests.
These, however, are but minor discomforts compared to the bigger problems of the evening. There are always the other guests; especially the unseated overflow who can't see the telecast. Having nothing else to do they stage their own get-together, raid the ice-box and eat all of the snacks......
In addition, there is the man who knows all the hockey games of the season, play by play, and who spares you no detail of them; the anti-social gent who wanders, lonely as a cloud, looking at all the books and pictures, sneering quietly to himself; the guest who always feels at home and is discovered two days later sleeping like a child in one of the guest rooms.....
All that is required of a good video host these days is iron nerves;..steady hands, a well stocked pantry, and an absolutely blank mind. Lacking these, a TV owner must resign himself to having his moorings snap at any moment.