In my neck of the woods folks used to say, “I saw your name in the paper..” when you had got in trouble for something. A speeding ticket, owing back property taxes, receiving an honor from a church or organization of which they weren’t a member, etc. All that changed in the 1980’s when we finally got cable TV. From then on it was, “I saw your name on the cable.”
It was a wondrous thing when my town finally got cable, it changed everything. Up until that time there was only one channel that would come in reliably. You might be able to get 2 or 3 more if you had the giant tower with the giant antennae with a rotor, sometimes, but not always. At best recetion was snowy and went in and out.
Oh course we lived a few miles from town so we didn’t get cable. We would eventually have a giant sattilite dish, but that was years away. I loved going to my friends houses and watching TV. I could finally tell what the cast of Saturday Night Live really looked like, and they had 8 channels, all perfectly clear. That’s right, 8 channels, including HBO. One was the public access channel where you could see funeral notices, the weather, community events, and who owed back taxes.
My town’s cable system has not changed much over the years. I think they are up to 13 or 14 channels. They did eventually run the cable out by my folks house, and they have it. It doesn’t much matter because almost everybody here has 100’s of channels on their satellite TV anyway.
The access channel is still there, unchanged. You can still see the same things there. Yesterday my dad told me that he had seen my name on there. My first thought was, “Oh what the fuck now?’ Oh course he couldn’t remember what my name was on there for.
Ever since my town has decided to give failed sheriff’s candidates gainful employment as “code enforcement officers” my only contact with city government has been with the never ending line of blowhards who occupy this position, before they are fired for carrying a sidearm and threatening someone with it, knocking on my door and telling me I have to move a junky car or mow my yard. I had a feeling my name on the cable channel wasn’t good news.
So I called city hall and explained that my dad (I didn’t have to tell him who he was, surprise, surprise) had seen my name on the cable and I wondered what it was about. The clerk said, “Well we don’t have any code violators or anybody owing back taxes on there now, I’m not sure.” (she knew who I was too). “It’s on here, let me see what it is when it comes around. There is funeral notices on there now, that wouldn’t be you.” Obviously.
I wait, try to make small talk, “How’s that new code enforcement officer working out? You know he ran for sheriff in the next county over last election?” She knew that.
Then she says, “Here it is….you were the Project Pride house of the week.”
I ask, “What is Project Pride?”
“It’s were we recognize people who have really nice yards.”
“Oh..Ok, well thank you.”
Maybe I’m moving up in the world.