Monday, November 12, 2007

Insidious TV

Think about the people you watch on TV - in the reality shows, the crime dramas, the sitcoms that are supposed to mirror real life. What's one HUGE life activity (besides going to the bathroom) that people on TV never engage in?

You almost never seeing them watch TV. But we watch them on it. What they're doing is so worthy of our attention we'll hand over our time and attention to worship how interesting they are, which is kind of like us admitting we're a bunch of boring assholes. I think it sneakily robs us of our self-esteem.

Some people have self-control where TV is concerned, but I don't. It's like I go into the living room behind my own back and sit down with the remote. Then I wonder, "How did I get here?" Then I can't get up, because the TV fires up the passive and lazy section of my brain, and I veg out and watch stuff I hate, hating myself for doing it.

I gave my TV away in graduate school because my addiction to the O.J. Simpson trial was interfering with other aspects of my life, like studying, socializing, and riding my bike. I have no ability to resist the temptations of the machine, so I had to get it out of the house. I was TVless for about 12 years, then I moved in with Wyatt, who has one that dominates the room. It's like it's staring at you, silent but overbearing, subliminally suggesting that you turn it on.

But now Wyatt and I are thinking about quitting the TV habit - well, pretty much. Without cable, his TV can pick up one fuzzy local station, which is usually what we have with our basic cable package anyway. It goes out every few weeks, and we have to call to schedule a repair visit, and we have to be home within a nice long time frame in case the repair person comes by and needs to get in, and then that person won't show, so we schedule another repair time, and the problem is always with the box outside anyway. It's just too much damn trouble and not worth the paltry sum we pay for it.

However, it seems like ever time we get it fixed, we wind up with a deluxe channel we're not paying for. Once it was Spike, and I became a major TV junkie on episodes of Most Extreme Challenge and reruns of CSI. Another time it was VH1 Classic, and we both became addicted to watching the music videos of our youth and documentaries about groups who really don't deserve the attention. As great as that stuff is for a while, it still keeps you from making the best of your time in the here and now.

Lately I've realized that that these extra channels might not be an accident. Maybe they're giving us the good stuff on and off so we'll get addicted and upgrade to a more expensive cable package. It's insidious.

No comments: