I asked him to leave once.
Later we seemed to miss him and I invited him back. My parents had been complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger..Well, he was THE storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies. If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to our first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but we didn't seem to mind.
Sometimes, Sherry would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)
I ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home... Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made me squirm and my Sherry blush. We didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, and mine. Yet he was seldom rebuked... And NEVER was asked to leave again. More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into our motor home today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name?.... .. . We just call him 'TV.'
He has a wife now....We call her 'Computer.
I received a version of this from my good friend Jim Page, 'I modified this to fit our family, because it fits ours and most of the US families today.