PBS Rocks (I would fight you, but Grover taught me better)

Jaques Pepin is my spirit animal.

 I could watch Jaques and Jean-Claude (his bestie and co-hort/sometimes-host) make magic in a pan for days at a time. I’m not sure why, my husband only eats from the brown and white food groups, but I am continually mesmerized by glazes, sauces and edible sustenance that isn’t brown or white.

Especially when it’s made by two distinguished French men with sexy accents who have been in kitchens since they were 13 years old. (Insert chef’s kiss sound effect in your imagination <<muah>>)

Anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen can tell you it is sheer hell with moments of pure, unadulterated chaos that turn out things the public will either swoon over or eviscerate you for. (No, it’s not proper English, but it’s the damn truth.)

Rarely does a recipe or beautiful thing appear on The Complete Pepin that contains only brown meat and white veggies (AKA: potatoes and rice), however, I still love watching the J-men get hammered on white wine and make gorgeous little edible things. It’s an art.

Speaking of that, guess where I learned about art?

Again, PBS.

Could anyone be more gentle and pleasant than Bob Ross? For Christ’s sake, Bob. Just beat the dickens out of that little brush. You are the freakin’ man, Bob. Put a squirrel over there in that scene. Yeah, man. Do it. God, I love you. Thank you, Bob, for peaceful, lovely words and happiness when I felt so lost, and so poor because I couldn’t afford cable. You made me rich with simple kindness and support from public television.

In that vein of thought – the only traveling I’ve ever done outside of 20 miles past USA borders was with Rick Steves. I was born poor and apparently fubared everything up from pretty much there on out, so international travel hasn’t been part of my life but thanks to you, I know a lot more about what I’m missing out on.

I’m kidding. I appreciate you. And I’m sure a lot of other folks do as well.

But honestly, Rick. Could you be cooler and a little more laid back? Oh wait, don’t. You won’t move at all and I still need to see Uruguay. I missed that show. Also, I would love to see Cuba without a Castro ruling it. Thanks. You’re awesome and I mean it this time. Don’t ever change.

When I hear people taking about getting rid of public television the only though that comes to my mind is how very ignorant of so many wonders of the world I would be had I grown up without it.

And I almost did.

Kids, I came along before Sesame Street, but just in time for it. I was born in January of 1968. Sesame Street appeared on ‘po folk TV’ in November of 1969 and it was the best thing to ever happen in my life because Ted Turner was trying to dissolve my mind with some Seals and Croft bullshit.

Y’all ever watch the Banana Splits? The Bugaloos? And who the hell was the big-headed McDonald’s-looking dude who had the very young friend with a ‘magic flute’?

What the actual fuck, Ted? Magic flute? Come the hell on, man. How many creepy dudes succeeded in showing a kid his ‘magic flute’ because of your liaison with these nut cases? You’re the reason we became latch-key kids. We had to lock out the weirdos and freaks. Thanks, Ted.

No wonder the X-gen has drug issues. We watched adults have a solid acid trip once a day at four o’clock sharp. Get on our level and feel the whatever-ness of the whole situation when we decide to drop a downer or burn one down three times an hour. That shit was horrifying. But we had no words for it because ‘trauma’ wasn’t a thing back then unless you were in a fiery car accident.

 Good thing my verdant little mind was also fed by my mother’s public library addiction. I thank God she was (and still is) a book junkie. Sesame Street was library time without having to ride the bus to the library. And I was enriched in every way by it and public library in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, when I was too young to properly appreciate it.

Sesame Street was the first and undoubtedly most successful distance learning tool in the history of education.

It still works and I don’t give a damn what anyone says. I would fight you about it, but Grover taught me it’s better to become a Super Grover and do good instead of evil. So there.

(I wish to goodness I’d remembered being Super Grover in my late 20’s when I was racking up all those court costs for being wild. I blame Oscar the Grouch. Motherfucker did what he wanted and lived in a trash can. I mean, can it get better? Fed, stanky and left alone to be grumpy and drink the residuals out of beer cans.)

I should have realized when I was four this was my true destiny. It actually says so in my baby book. Momma wrote, “Wendy wants to be a garbage man or a go-go dancer when she grows up.”

But I was four. And I was going to do something great one day. Garbage men and go-go dancers wore cool boots, and they kicked the world’s ass as far as I was concerned, so there’s that.

Don’t rain on my ambitions. Burt and Ernie never did.

Turns out, I did succeed. I let myself learn and I enjoyed it. I did precisely what the people who designed and labored over these shows wanted to happen.

I am a Sesame Street, public television, fifth district Atlanta-born success. And I am proud of it. I could have never done it without public television and mother who reads books like she breathes air. I am thankful beyond words for both opportunities to expand my world.

Support public television. It’s a good thing.