I believe that it's important to have life goals. It's important to have things to strive for. It's important to have dreams. One of my long standing dreams is to be in a WTTW bumper. These appear in-between shows where commercials would normally reside. They feature a random person or people somewhere in the city or suburbs saying, "You're watching channel 11 Chicago." I'm not sure why these had such an impact on me. Maybe it was seeing all the unique places. Maybe it was because they weren't actors. They were just random people. The randomness makes it a difficult goal to have. I have to be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. So far no luck.
Growing up my mom was pretty strict about the amount of television we watched. There was a lot of panic about children being raised by television. I've come to learn that there will always be a lot of panic. Every day a new worry: children raised by cellphones, dungeons and dragons, the internet, rap music, metal, punk, too many video games, the satanic influence of Pokeman cards. So even though our television viewing was limited we were allowed to watch WTTW, channel 11, the public television station. Television certainly helped raise me but contrary to the prevailing wisdom, I'm a better human being because of it. Zoom, the Electric Company, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers and 321 Contact, all taught me reading, math, shapes and spelling while they exposed me to different cultures, races, backgrounds and ideas, using puppets and documentary films and animation and music. There was so much amazing art, humor and joyful creativity. So much unrestrained imagination. So much to be inspired by.
When I got older I'd watch Sneak Previews, Julia Child, This Old House, Bob Ross and Check Please. Sometimes I'd catch Nova or an American Masters movie or a BBC series or even the mop headed adventures of Dr. Who. Once having cable became normal it cut down on my PBS viewing. Too many new options. Reality TV, music videos, classic movies,all took my more of my attention. Now I stream everything so I have to watch WTTW through an app. Even though they cancelled Check Please it's still a great source for documentaries. I'm not sure what they broadcast in the morning for kids but I hope it's still wholesome and educational and as awesome as I remember it. Unfortunately since I'm watching on the app I don't know if they still do the "You're watching..." bumpers. Even so I'm still hopeful that one day it will happen by chance. Maybe they'll be filming at Wilson or the dog park or the Zoo. I won't even be able to see it but I'll be able to cross it off my list. "You're watching WTTW, channel 11, in Chicago."