When Mother arrived in Iowa, she decided she wanted to buy a television so she could “keep up with what was going on in the world” (whatever that meant). My husband Charles and I took her out to see what was available. Since Mother’s vision was extremely poor by this point in her life, and she refused to wear her glasses most of the time, Charles and I figured she should pick out a set she liked. Mother looked around and settled on a nice (and very large!) television set.
When we got it set up in her apartment, we told her in order to watch anything she would have to get Mediacom as her service provider. Charles and I went through absolute hell to make her understand why she would have to pay for this service. Mother said she had never heard of having to pay to watch television. And she was certainly not going to start at this point in her life.
The problem was that although she looked down on those who enjoyed TV, she actually liked viewing certain programs too. Never one to give up the fight, she would turn on the TV and get nothing but snow. At that point, Mother would then begin screaming at the TV, complaining that it could not pick up any local channels for free.
After several sessions explaining why she was not getting a picture, she reluctantly agreed to give Mediacom a try. Every month when the bill came, she would throw one of her giant fits and I would remind her why she was paying.
It finally came to an end when she had refused to pay her cable bill for several months and had incurred quite a hefty amount owed to Mediacom. I wrote a check on her account, paid her debt and had the service shut off. The pleasure she was receiving was not from the TV but the moaning and groaning over paying the bill. Mother kept bitching about “the land of the free…my ass!” and other colorful phrases.
Lesson learned: You can please some of the people all of the time and you can please all of the people some of the time, but you could never please Mother!