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Off Air: Please Stand By

November 29, 2013


It is best to turn on the set only after all the stations have gone off the air and just watch the snow fall. This is the other life you have been promising yourself. Somewhere in the back in the woods, ten miles from the nearest town and that just a wide place in the road with a tavern and gas station. When you drive home, after midnight, half drunk, the roads are treacherous. And your wife is home alone, worried, looking anxiously out at the snow. This snow has been falling steadily for days, so steadily the snow plows can’t keep up. So you drive slow, peering down the road. And there! Did you see it? Just at the edge of your headlight beams, something, a large animal, or a man, crossed the road. Stop. There he is among the birches, a tall man wearing a white suit. Not it isn’t a man. Whatever it is—it motions to you, an almost human gesture, then retreats farther into the woods. He stops and motions again. The snow is piling up all around the car. Are you coming?

–“Violence on Television” Louis Jenkins

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