This is a memoir by a thirty-one-year-old man who has just given up the most meaningful, heartwarming and enduring relationship in his life—with his television set.
The tale begins with Donald Bowie’s discovery of ‘Howdy Doody,’ and ends as he bids farewell to the television world after the last episode of the ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show.’ In the span of Donald’s young life, he trades reality for the better life on the tube. TV becomes Donald’s family, his friends, his classroom and, ultimately, his undoing. Station Identification is his hilarious confession of that beautiful friendship.
Grappling with the urges of puberty, he finds that “the whole business of womanhood seemed easiest to understand when it was jammed into Elly May Clampett’s jeans.” Years later, after a wonderful night on the town, Donald brings his date home to watch TV—something close to having her meet the folks. “She fell asleep during a re-run of ‘The Honeymooners.’” He writes. “I knew the relationship wouldn’t last.”
If television was once believed to be a vast wasteland, Donald Bowie has come back to tell us that it is a place where dreams are born.