I feel duty-bound to bring you the following, because I’m not mean enough to want anyone else to undergo my recent ordeal, so here goes.

The following is a public notice addressed to anyone who’s been in the unfortunate position of having to watch television at certain houses at certain times under certain circumstances.

Beware! The Flipper lives here.

We’re not talking about pinballs — unless you count what The Flipper does to your brain. We’re talking about certain people’s relationships with their television sets.

Otherwise normal people who turn into control freaks the instant a television remote control comes into their hands; people who just can’t help themselves, but drive other people up the wall in almost record time — regularly.

You may already have encountered one, but there are a few Flippers around who still are lurking in the shadows of various living rooms and dens, just waiting to trap unsuspecting visitors (and even some friends or family members). This warning should prove quite helpful to those who may want to avoid the irritation and the undiluted frustration of being subjected to a Flipper — especially if you're an unwitting victim of his machinations.

It ain’t much fun.

Who is the Flipper?

He’s the guy who lives there — the guy who assumes total control over the television remote control when everybody settles in to watch. The guy who simply refuses to surrender it under any circumstances — even when he has to take a pit stop! He just takes it with him, absentmindedly (yeah, sure!) slipping it into his pocket.

When you settle in to watch the game (or games; we’ll get to that in a moment), flipping starts immediately, and will continue throughout the entire game you’d like to watch — and you will watch it if you get half a chance, but you’re going to have to watch his way, or not at all.

First, “Ol’ Flip” roams the channels, locating the games currently being shown — all of them.

If there are only two, you stand a relatively good chance of seeing what’s going on, since “Flip” will alternate from one to the other, trying to keep up with both at once.

If there happens to be three, you’re in for quite an afternoon and, if there are more, Heaven help you!

Either way, here’s an idea of what you have probably let yourself in for.

Television hopscotch.

If you’re lucky, you will see only about half of the game you most want to see, because you-know-who is switching back and forth between them, never watching one for more than 90 seconds. This will continue for as long as there’s a game.

Watch one play here, flip to catch part of another play in game No. 2, then see if you can make any sense of what’s going on in game No. 3. Then it’s back to game one, and random flipping here and there through the end of all three games for a very successful (?) afternoon of back-and-forth.

If your head isn’t spinning or throbbing (or both) by this time, you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din!

And the commercials? They don’t even slow him down. He doesn’t want to watch the ads, so when he can’t find any more sports action, just in case something may catch his fancy, he surfs the other channels!

(I don’t know why. I never could control my temper enough to ask without snapping his head off, so I just kept my trap shut.)

Of course, something always catches his attention, which results in finally getting back to the game, only to discover we’ve missed the latest touchdown! Thank you very much. And that’s what you’re in for, game after game.

There is one small bright spot, however. “The Flipper” is not quite as bad as he could be.

If you’re really unlucky and encounter a Flipper who also is a dyed-in-the-wool rabid sports fan and fact freak (and most of them are), you’ll also have to put up with his second-guessing the plays, the quarterbacks, the coaches and, especially, the referees.

See what I mean about frustrating?

Next time, I’m going to stay home.

After an experience like this, I may not even watch the game!

Maybe I’ll just turn it off and sit there, watching an empty screen until my blood pressure gets back to somewhere near normal.

But, back to my public service message.

Today’s job will not be complete until I remind you The Flipper does not hibernate. When football season, basketball season, baseball season, tennis season, golf season, stock car racing season — or any other season, for that matter — is over, he remains in front of the television set, master of all he surveys on the screen.

He is the Flipper. He rules.

You have been warned.

And if you absolutely must watch sports with a Flipper, I have only one suggestion. Maybe your doctor can prescribe a tranquilizer for you. Or maybe for the Flipper. It’s worth a try.

Mike Morton writes each Wednesday for the Kansan. He can be reached at m4r4f4m4@hotmail.com. Mike’s book, “On The Loose Collection, Volume One,” is on sale in Newton at the Kansan, 121 W. Sixth St.; Anderson’s Book and Office Supply, 627 N. Main St.; and Morse Studio, 715 N. Plum St.