Newton Norman Minow, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, characterized T.V. as a “vast wasteland.” Countless other universities and experts have conducted studies deriding television as a mindless obsession that is tainting our society.
I disagree. Instead, I believe in T.V. I believe in T.V. for its simplest meaning: a source of entertainment that brings people together. Television has provided a personal avenue that has united my brother and me in a bond stronger than any I could have ever peredicted.
My brother, Ross, is six year older than me and we were never especially close growing up. It seemed as if we were either always fighting or just ignoring each other. It isn’t that we tried to be difficult; we just never had any common link between us.
Thus, when my parents told me that my brother and I would share a separate tent during our two week trip to Africa, I was less than excited. The thought, “How am I going to live with him, separated from my parents, in the middle of nowhere for 16 days!” raced through my mind.
Our first night on the safari was in the heart of the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, but seemed like another planet. After being walked to our cabin by a mountain of a man, who toted a large stick to fight off any baboons (or worse), my brother and I had to hang our mosquito nets to ward off tsetse flies from preying on us in our sleep, lock our porch gates to deter hippos from crashing through the tarp walls and make sure that no food would attract any other type of African predator.
After completing these safari safeguards, I climbed under the mosquito net, turned on my iPod and tried to fall asleep. Moments later, I heard the faint noise of a man screaming. I sprung up, only to see the glow of Ross’s laptop and the romping image of Steve Carell, the source of the shouting. Curious, I propped myself up and began watching The Office, a show I’d never seen before.
I’ve been living with who at times seemed like a complete stranger for 17 years; yet after one 30 minute episode of The Office, that stranger became my brother. The Office became the segue for Ross and I to share stories, give each other advice, and whisper jokes to each other that only we understand.
Now, I can’t believe I lived my life for so long only co-existing with my brother. I love the time we spend together and can’t think of someone who I trust and respect more.
Each day on the safari was filled with the anticipation of something unique and amazing. While the animal interactions we saw were incredible, no safari experience can replace the happiness I felt when I crawled under the mosquito net after a long day, and shared the world of Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, and the small town of Scranton with my brother.
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