truth in tivo

I don’t watch TV anymore; I used to say it’s because I don’t have time.  It’s really because I’m in love.  His name is Toshiba; he’s in Japan.  He’s also here, beside me, in my bedroom.  He spins my DVD of choice ’round ’round like a record player.  And he responds to the push of a button, if only he could stimulate mine.  I’m addicted to my DVD collection.  It’s not alphabetical, but instead it’s housed in an enormous black case, and the discs are grouped by leading actor.  The leading actor’s role usually determines the genre, of course not always thanks to Sir Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black and Howard’s End and Ed Norton’s role in Keeping The Faith.  But then there’s Sandra B., Meg R.,and horse-mouth Jules; they’re pretty reliable for a chick flick, despite The Net of Flesh and Bone exceptions like Mary Reilly (I own none of those). 

In my small one bedroom apartment, I’ve made room, for not one, but two TVs that I no longer watch, complete with working Tivo.  So tonight, I made it a mission to watch everything Tivo had saved for me.  Oprah, Dr. Phil, Desperate Housewives, Ebert & Roeper, The Gillmore Girls, Nigella Bites.  Okay, I didn’t watch everything, but I watched enough to know I now need to Tivo "The Dog Whisperer" since I’m clearly to blame for Linus’s self-esteem issues.  I need to be pack leader first, mommy second.

I thought I’d cry through an episode of Dr. Phil about meddling mother in laws.  Husband admits to his wife he has cheated on her.  He doesn’t set boundaries with his intrusive mother, and like a coward, he sneaks around doing what feels good.  I didn’t cry, despite the fact that I felt like I was living through the "right before you die montage in the tunnel heading toward the light."  I heard something no one ever told me and it made me feel empowered. 

"It’s not your fault he betrayed you.  Nothing you did or could ever do is any part responsible for his decision to lie and cheat." 

It’s such an after school special.  Parents divorce, and the first thing a kid hears is "it’s not your fault."  No one ever told me that.  Not one person.  "He’s an asshole."  "You deserve more."  But I never heard, "it’s not your fault."  Maybe it was said, but until now, I couldn’t hear it.  I didn’t really believe I had no part in it.  Now I realize, while I certainly wasn’t perfect, I am not to blame for his decision to behave cowardly.  I am not to blame, not even in some small part, for his decision to lie, repeatedly.

You can decide you’re unhappy and choose to do something about it.  He chose to lie instead of be truthful.  Maybe the truth was, "I don’t love you anymore, and I want a divorce."  Or maybe it was, "Something doesn’t feel right, and we need to work on things before I do something I can never take back."  He chose deceit and the layering of lies.  He was a cowardly boy in a man’s situation. Nothing I did made him choose deception.  He did that all on his own.  Well thank God! 

Now I can fall asleep watching French Kiss, dreaming of a man who will one day want to plant some roots and watch them grow…with me, and only me, ’til death do us part.  ‘Cause I’ve got baby envy.  First Britney, now the Garner girl… even my very own agent!  Something is in the water, too bad I’m all about Poland Spring



  1. Oh, it is definitely not your fault. You did nothing wrong. It's the goal of the guilty party to make the other person feel the guilt. It worked on you and it worked on me.

    Never again! Ha-HA!

    And yes, someone told you. Like they told me. We only hear it when we're ready to hear it.

    For me it was one of the last pieces of letting go of the past. Kind of set me free.

    That and my Linus (and my Nixon).

  2. Tivo is an amazing thing. I am glad you are really starting to understand your own pain. It's really hard for me to believe that it's all that hard for you to find someone. You fit about every requirement I have but I, on the other hand, probably don't fit any of yours. I guess that's life.

  3. Did you Tivo last night's episode of "The American Exprience" on Channel 13? It was about the Carter Family of country music fame. True American geniuses. Nothing in our krap kulture of today approaches such an authentic and orginal artistic voice. Robert Duvall narrated the show. Like the Carters, Duvall is from rural Virginia. We should all be.

  4. PLEASE tell me you don't watch Dr. Phil. I gleaned from this entry that you actually TIVO Dr. Phil, which is worse. Good God, Stephanie, get some taste. You do realize that he isn't even a real doctor. This would not normally be offensive (I'm all about the autodidacts) except that he CALLS himself one. Pathetic.

  5. Dr. Phil is not an MD; he has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from North Texas State University with a dual area of emphasis in clinical and behavioral medicine. He has been a board-certified and licensed clinical psychologist since 1978.

    I usually agree with his advice, but I don't always like his execution… and yes, I do watch his shows. My favorite part is when he tells a man he needs to side with his wife over his mother.

  6. You're actually wrong there. My cousin works on his show (much to her chagrin, as he's a raging asshole to work for, surprise surprise)- and it's a well-known fact among the staff and (I thought) the public at large that he is not a clinical psychologist or a doctor of any sort. He has his bachelor's in mediation from Texas State, that's all. He became "Dr. Phil" during his appearances on Oprah. Maybe he's received an honorary degree of some sort- but he did not earn that PhD prior to his garnering fame on Oprah's show and then his.

  7. I also have a Toshiba 51" HDTV. One finds that when one has a nice, big TV, one must be very selective in the choice of DVD he watches. A sub-par movie is a waste of the TV's abilities. This is totally a guy thing, as TV abilities are meant for explosions, Neo, Return of the King, and Bruce Willis.

  8. Hmmm. Well, I'll be the first to admit when I'm wrong. I'll ask my cousin about it. I took her word for it because she works for him, but I agree the internet research seems pretty conclusive. Still, his "advice" is trite and hamfisted, and his having a doctorate almost (not quite) makes it worse.

  9. Even though I hate the good Doctor and I think he's a moron (not for saying that men should side with their partners rather than their mothers either – as I had the reverse happen to me), Stephanie is correct:

    Dr. Phil has a B.S, M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from North Texas State University with a dual area of emphasis in clinical and behavioral medicine. He has been a board-certified and licensed clinical psychologist since 1978. Go to for source.

    Actually, I found no support for your claim Noisette, and I did try.

  10. Johnny Cash…oh how we do miss your music on this wicked Earth of ours…I did watch the American Experience on the Carter Family. I did not TiVo it as I do not (and never intend to) own one.

    If I start fretting over something I miss on TV, please come put a bullet in my bloody head. But do it when I don't expect it. I love surprises.

  11. Steffie dear, you really need to stop telling conflicting tales. "I don't watch TV anymore," followed by another entire post about how you don't watch TV, yet keep ABC on all morning?

    Lies just like the fat camp stories that aren't really your stories to tell.

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