I hated 60 Minutes as a kid.
It had nothing to do with Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley or even Andy Rooney's eyebrows.
Hearing the famous tick, tick, ticking served as a televised reminder that the weekend was nearly over, and that in 14 hours, I'd be walking to school. Homework I neglected for two nights needed to be completed.
It was a time to reflect. Saturday had been such a good time, so had Friday night and Sunday afternoon. We watched some college football or college hoops. Maybe we traveled to grandma or grandpa's for the weekend. Maybe I'd gone to a youth basketball tournament. Maybe we'd gone to the big city of Rochester to watch my uncle's basketball team play. Whatever I'd done, it had been fun. But now, it was 6 p.m., and all that was gone. Replaced by algebra and confusion. Sunday nights were a time to complete an essay for English class, one the teacher assigned two weeks earlier and expected one day later.
60 Minutes haunted and taunted me. Time was running out, for corrupt used car salesmen about to be exposed by Mike Wallace in front of a national audience, and for me.
Football season was especially torturous. If the late NFL game on CBS slid past 6 p.m., it set the entire night's schedule back, meaning the start of 60 Minutes brought me even closer to the end of the weekend. Pat Summerall patiently reminded viewers that 60 Minutes was coming up immediately after the game, except for on the West Coast, which existed in an alternate reality and would be treated to Quincy reruns.
60 Minutes wasn't alone. ABC often chose Sunday night to show old James Bond movies. Moonraker, Goldfinger, The Man With the Golden Gun, From Russia With Love. All classics. They are movies I've watched a half dozen times each and even today if I come across any James Bond flick on TV - even a Timothy Dalton one - I'll put down the remote for at least a half hour. But when ABC showed those movies on Sunday nights in the 1980s, I loathed 007. His arrogance, his womanizing. Because if Bond was on my TV, it meant I'd be in school the next day. I took out my frustration on her Majesty's finest man. I all but cheered for Goldfinger's laser.
ABC's chief programmers installed a Pavlovian response in me. When I heard the theme song or saw Sean Connery's face or Roger Moore's mug, I started to panic, knowing my homework wasn't done and that, barring a snowstorm, school was just a few short hours away.
I wasn't alone with this. My dad often got Sunday night headaches, as the nerves in his head apparently hated the first night of the week as much as I did. My dad knew the same thing I did: Nothing's worse than Monday mornings, but Sunday nights aren't much better.
Things have changed in the past 20 years. Slightly. Now I can appreciate 60 Minutes for its journalistic excellence, and no longer view the program as an enemy of my personal freedom. But when I watch my Sunday night shows now - whether it's Cold Case or 22 consecutive hours of Law & Order: Criminal Intent on cable - I still do realize that the end is again near. Monday awaits. A long work night awaits. The occasional Sunday night headache strikes, another trait I inherited from my dad.
The major difference is that while I used to be up at 7:30 for school, there's now only one Monday a month when I wake up early. And by early I mean before 11 a.m.
It's one of the lessons I've learned as an adult: Sunday nights aren't so bad if you rarely see Monday mornings.