Intro: “Quantum Theory and Tube Socks”

I wrote this story in 1992, entirely in the computer lab of the library at Southwest Texas State University. (Now known as Texas State University – San Marcos.)

The story is about television, what it takes to write for it and what it takes to make a show popular, or what attracts people to watch it. My little comment on the vicarious nature of that medium seems quaint today, as the ascendance of reality tv today has made it rather obvious why people choose to watch television. To see other people’s lives so screwed up, it makes us feel better about ourselves.

Failed tv producer Sam Darby is at a low point in his life when something rather amazing happens to him, and gives him a new perspective on the world around him.

I would like to note that the bit of science quoted near the end of the story is entirely wrong, and I knew it to be wrong at the time. It’s something a kid actually said to me on the playground, and I have always liked it for its utter scientific wrongness, and its strange aptness as a metaphor for life itself. I’m happy to share it with you, along with this crazy day in the life of Sam Darby, producer of some of television’s worst programs.

I have divided the story into two parts so each can be digested in a short sitting, or if you like, in a longer bite. Enjoy!

-JDC

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