Jeremy Hooper
3 min readDec 19, 2023

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Thanks for The Thoughtful Gift

By Jeremy Hooper

I wanted to thank you, great-grandson, for the carefully considered gift of one strip of LED lighting to go around the back of my TV. Eighty-eight years is obviously too long to go without a tinge of illumination highlighting my screen’s underside.

Ya know, when I was a youngster growing up in Appalachia, I never would’ve imagined framing a television in subtle shades. And not just because grueling shifts in condemned mines suppressed my imagination. Or because we had no electricity. Or walls. I just never dreamt of seeing colors not borne of scurvy, nor did any of the six kids with whom I shared that particularly crispy hay bail.

As I entered young adulthood and experienced the boob tube’s early days, I still couldn’t picture colored TV underlighting. Or colored anything, it being the Deep South and I the lone townsperson not on the side of “Board of Education.” I’m sure I would’ve gotten around to thinking about a mild backsplash of tele-luminescence, were I not so busy preventing the rest of my house from being firebombed.

Then came those socially turbulent ’60s. Oh my, to think, not one of us ever stopped to ask why our TVs, filled as they were with harrowing images from Selma and Ho Chi Minh, lacked a faint rim of magenta to help underscore the tone of our times. We assumed the body bags and firehoses were enough to make us feel something, but clearly we were too distracted by multiple assassinations of multiple influential leaders to realize how much the Zapruder film would’ve benefited from an ombré silhouette.

As you’re doubtlessly unaware, I then spent the seventies working with Gloria Steinem. Ooh, maybe send Glo a strip of TV lighting, too? It could help her, at eighty-nine, feel better about losing Roe, ERA, or the faith that your generation has even passing awareness of what those terms mean. Should she cry, it’s only over achieving her most long-held goal: an episode of 1000 Pound Sisters accented with rainbow hues.

Oh, hey, did I ever tell you how I spent ’83 as a volunteer nurse in Greenwich Village? My patients were mostly gay men, and I expected the images of those times to forever linger. Though now that you’ve allowed me to watch Young Sheldon with a warm amber undertone, those nightmares will surely morph into something new…

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Jeremy Hooper

Recycled politico who ✍️ hahas for adults (@mcsweeneys, @newyorker @weeklyhumorist, @pointsincase, @frazzledhumor) & future adults (PBs) | Rep UTA