He is Steeply’s father. He is consumed by the television show M*A*S*H, starting out initially as being unable to miss the show on Thursday nights and growing exponentially into not being able to ever miss a single episode throughout its entire syndication. He sits in his chair with a notebook (taking copious notes that he never allows anybody else to see (which grows into its own obsession, the secrecy)) and watches the show, over and over again. The family has to cycle around the syndication, as well. His father works as a heating-oil-delivery dispatcher for Cheery Oil in Troy, New York, though he misses weeks of work because of the show. All conversation his father has is imbedded in the show, and he even writes the fictional character Major Burns (See Maury Linville) letters. He soon begins forming theories about the show, claiming that the show is reflective of a future apocalypse and of time and order shifting in the world. He dies by blowing an entire ventricle (something that runs in the family) while watching the show, and the family discovers that his notebooks are filled with his theories (though they are written in a military-medical way and are absolutely indecipherable). Steeply recalls how gradual is the shift in his father, and how it makes Steeply question whether he is the one going crazy.
Hugh/Helen Steeply’s Mother
“Mummykins”, “Mumkinsky”. She is Steeply’s coupon clipping mother. She teases her husband (See Above) about how he schedules his Thursdays around M*A*S*H, until it becomes an all-consuming activity for him. During the time of Steeply’s father’s obsession, Steeply’s mother goes on anti-anxiety pills and continues to act as if nothing is wrong with her family, or more importantly her husband.
She is the younger sister of Steeply, and she has to keep Steeply up to date on their father’s condition once Steeply goes off to college.