I’ve been feeling—I guess you’d say at loose ends, since Heather left. And I’ve been trying to distract myself. I think it’s good to have a distraction. Some people think distractions keeps you from dealing with your problems but I think it’s all right, I think having a distraction is the first step in moving on.
And I want to move on. I do. I mean, when I think about it what we had wasn’t even that great. We weren’t really happy. We thought we were—or, maybe we told ourselves we were. Maybe I told myself I was. But happy couples don’t break up, and we broke up, so that happiness was an illusion.
So I’ve been watching that show Family Matters a lot, since it comes on in the afternoon and I don’t really have anywhere to go all day or a reason to get off the couch. People forget this, but, at first, the show was about a middle-class black family in Chicago. You think about Family Matters and Urkel comes to mind, but Urkel didn’t show up until halfway through the first season. And even after that, it was a few more years before he took over and the show became all about him building jetpacks and shit.
Thinking about jetpacks makes me think about how the future is only ever a fantasy. All that exists is the present moment. Heather and I used to make all these plans for the future. About where we’d live and what we’d name our kids. But that was a fantasy. It felt real but it wasn’t, and now it’ never will be anyway.
I should check her Facebook page. Maybe she’s updated it, maybe she posted some new article from the New York Times or something. I could ‘like’ the post and she’ll see my name and wonder what I’m up to.
No, forget that. I have this theory about why Family Matters got as crazy as it did. I think that from season four on—the show went for nine years, believe it or not—the real Winslow family was replaced with sophisticated androids that Urkel created in order to learn about human nature.
Side note, Heather and I dated for nine years. I almost didn’t mention that that’s how long the series lasted, because thinking about the number nine makes me feel like someone’s sliced off the top of my skull and dumped gray paint all over my brain, but I did mention it, because I can’t spend my whole life running from the number nine. Not a feasible course of action.
So yeah, Urkel built these android versions of the Winslow family. And then, what we see each episode is essentially an experiment where he’s testing some new behavior or interaction to see how it’s received, if whatever he’s doing in normal or weird or what. It makes sense, because think about all the insane shit he put that family through. Sure, they got annoyed with him, but they never threw him out. They never banned him from coming around. How realistic is that? A real family living next door to that kid would move, you know?
Heather moved. To Florida. I don’t know where, exactly. I could probably find out—I could text her and say I have some book or something of hers that I want to drop in the mail, but I won’t.
This theory explains why Judy Winslow vanished from the show after season three. Steve needed Carl and Harriette androids to test himself against parental figures, he needed an Eddie to learn about getting along with peers, he needed a Laura to learn about mating rituals or whatever. There was no reason for a Judy, there was nothing Judy could teach him.
I might be able to figure out where in Florida Heather is living by checking Instagram, I guess. But no, fuck it. She has my number. If she wanted to talk to me she’d return one of my text messages.
So this is why there’s no Judy after season three, he didn’t need a Judy. Did I say that already? Okay. Did I mention how there’s no doubt Urkel could build a sophisticated android, being that he made all kinds of crazy shit? Remember the one where he built the teleportation device and sent Heather to France? I mean Carl?
Sorry, I always think about Heather and France together. She took French lessons. I don’t know why, she never talked about visiting France.
Well, I guess there’s a lot she never talked about actually. I’d ask her what she was thinking and she’d say nothing and then she broke up with me so she must have been thinking about something, at least some of those times.
I know what you’re thinking, that there was already a robot on the show. The Urkelbot. You know what I think was going on there? I think he wanted to do a sort of Turing test on the Winslow AI he invented, so he made this other, shitty robot for them to interact with. Something like that.
I’m sure if you wanted to you could find all kinds of holes in this theory of mine. Like, was Waldo an android? Was Rachel? Those are good questions. I wish I had answers worked out. I wish there was a single question I could say I had a real answer for. But that’s not real life. That’s not how it works. Every day it’s just more questions and sure, sometimes you think you have answers but you don’t, really. When you think you have an answer to a question, what that means is you haven’t figured out what the next question is yet. Like, I might wonder what it is that makes me unlovable, why some people get to have love in their lives but not me. And then I’ll think I have the answer, I’ll think, probably because I’m so angry. But then, why am I so angry? And it goes on and on like that for years and years and then one day I’ll die and that’s what my life was, a series of questions with no resolution.
It’s actually bittersweet, what Urkel’s doing with these androids. Because he wants answers, you know? He wants to know what life is and what’ll happen and how people are but he’s afraid to put himself out there, so he builds this world he can control. Someplace safe, where he can study the questions one at a time.
Unless I’m wrong about all this, unless there were no androids and the show was just garbage. That may well be the case. Lord knows I’ve been wrong before.