Or was. Last Thursday. The official observance is on September 10th and I missed it because I was too lazy to double-check the date — I thought it was later in the month. If this was dinner it’d be burned to a crisp. Nevertheless, that won’t stop me from commemorating a triumph of such astonishing importance.
Introduced by Swanson’s in the 50s, these things are so ultra-hip they’re a cottage industry. Not the meals, per se, which were (and probably still are) only marginally edible, but the very concept of them and their images. You can buy TV dinner t-shirts and mousepads and greeting cards, neckties and magnets, keychains and necklaces. Honestly, though? They’re a little revolting.
The aluminum tray was the master stroke, just a brilliant invention. Everything nested its own separate compartment, except the niblets, they always strayed, migrating to the brownie, and the brown goo they called gravy sloshed over into the baked apples. Still, it was a noble and valiant effort — dinner hasn’t been the same since. Nowadays everything is either frozen and / or microwaveable and very few of us linger over a leisurely meal.
Because of the TV dinner, expectations were raised and a precedent was set. Not for cuisine or taste, necessarily, but for speed. Instant gratification became the byproduct of these lifestyle conveniences. We wait for nothing in this day and age, resenting even traffic lights. As a species, we have zero patience; we want everything to move at the speed of sound. Do you know what the consequence of this supersonic culture is? Time itself hurtles along at a blurry, breakneck pace.
What is the flipping hurry? Hold up, relax your shoulders. Take a look around and appreciate a moment of nothing. A moment of breathing and blinking and being. We tend to overlook how nice it is to be here; to be a thinking, feeling human in a gorgeous world on a gorgeous day.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to follow my own advice and wander out into a glorious sunlit afternoon and fall off my bike.