Summary: Jacob had periods in his life when he could have used some psychological intervention by someone like Dr. Phil. But in the end, he grew up, put his past behind him and became a great man.
Where is Dr. Phil When Jacob Needs Him?
February 24, 2008
Our son Matthew did his first two years of college (actually it took him three years to do his first two years) at Vincennes University. We were living in Elkhart at the time and VU had a satellite campus there. So Matt lived at home for that year. In high school, he had studied radio and television for two years at the Elkhart Career Center and was the recipient of the first scholarship that was given to the most improved student.
He got a job working as the Master Control Operator at the local FOX television station. He worked midnight to 7 am running the entire night programming schedule. He kept after me to come in to see what he did because he thought he was really cool. I had to wait until 2 am because he was too busy for the first two hours. I put him off for awhile because it was just too hard for me to stay awake, but finally relented. He let me in the door to the station at about 2:15 and showed me around. I was amazed and impressed.
I was amazed because I couldn’t believe that they would trust my son with multiple millions of dollars of equipment. He was the only one in the building. Even the custodian was gone. He ran all of the satellite feeds, played the commercials at the right time, and kept track of everything that happened in the station log book.
I was impressed because he knew what he was doing. He sat in a control booth surrounded on all four sides by monitors, knobs, switches, tape machines, satellite dish controls, and all sorts of other electronic stuff.
When I was there, he had just started the Jerry Springer Show. He said, ‘Watch this, Dad.” He then proceeded to move some slide controls up and down. I saw Jerry’s face go green and then red. Then the show went to black and white, and back to color. He played with the controls for fifteen or twenty seconds and then said, “Somewhere in Elkhart, there is a guy pounding on his TV wondering what is wrong with it!”
I never really “got” the Springer show. I couldn’t understand where they found all those folks to come on national television and showcase their incredibly dreary, dreadfully sad lives. I also have trouble believing that peoples’ lives can be that messed up. Perhaps I’ve just led a sheltered life.
Perhaps, since I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that loved, cared, and provided for me, I can’t understand people who didn’t have that advantage. Since I happened to marry a woman who loved me back and became a life partner, perhaps I can’t understand couples who go out of the way to torment each other. Perhaps because my kids have become relatively responsible adults, I can’t understand those who reject their parent’s teaching and leadership. Perhaps because Toni and I have done our best to rear our children, I can’t understand those people who don’t really give their all to their offspring.
I understand that families struggle sometimes, but I have trouble even imagining the plethora of dysfunctional relationships that parade in front of Jerry Springer night after night.