Number Six

Yesterday Patrick McGoohan passed away.  I can’t say I was a big fan of Mr. McGoohan, but I was captivated by the character he played in the series “The Prisoner”, Number Six.

Andersonville National POW Cematery

I can’t say specifically why that show caused such a lasting memory, but it did.  Perhaps because when I was growing up in the 60’s it was the only TV show that I really enjoyed watching.  For many of my years growing up we did not watch TV.  I think the first spell with out TV in the family lasted about 3 years.

Our TV broke and my parents just decided not to have it repaired.  So we lived with out it.  I suppose at first it was a bit strange.  I do remember occasionally needing to explain to friends in school, when they spoke of a program, that we didn’t watch TV.  I don’t recall ever being really strongly attached to watching and don’t recall ever really missing not having one.

After a few years, three I think, we did get TV back for a while, but then we went without for a couple more years.  Since those times I have never enjoyed TV and even now don’t own one and haven’t owned one in over 8 years.

With my limited exposure to TV growing up The Prisoner stands out as my favorite show and frankly the only one I can remember from that time period.  I don’t even remember what was on TV at the time.  I can’t say I am a Prisoner Culty but I have gotten a hold of copies of various episodes over the years and revisited them.  Again, it is the only show I have ever done that for.

I suppose there were times, especially during the 60’s in my adolescence, I really did feel like a ‘Prisoner’ in the Village of my life.   As time went on and I converted to Buddhism at age 19 I began to feel less and less like a Prisoner but still could relate.  Now I approaching age 60 being a Prisoner is the furthest thing from my view of life and the potentials and possibilities.  Still though, almost romantically, I look back on those memories and experience certain kinds of fondness.  I wouldn’t want to go back though.

Frequently over the many years when leaving a message on someone’s answering machine in response to “leave your number” I’ll just say “my number is: six”, and my ex-partner and I would offer as our parting words to each other the “ok” sign and say “be seeing you”.  Does that make me a culty?

I wish they had made more of the series, for me it could have gone on forever.

So long Patrick, you are no longer a Prisoner.

Andersonville National POW Cemetery – Andersonville, GA; photo by Ryusho, September 2008
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