On June 22nd we turned our television set off for what was to be a thirty day period and we haven’t turned it on since. The freedom it gives us is incredible.
We’d been tired of most of the television programming for a long time. For us, television seemed to be all about reality shows, serial killers or people having sex with people they weren’t supposed to be having sex with.
With the exception of American Idol, we never did get into the reality shows. The commercials for them always seemed to feature some grubby looking guy trying to look tough who was out to do bad things to the other contestants. We also noticed the programs were apparently made in a location that had neither soap nor water.
The supposedly tough guy never convinced me to watch his program. Instead he brought up fantasies of me smacking him with a big club because he seemed to be asking for it.
It took a while but we eventually gave up on American Idol too. I have to confess I still have fantasies about me, Simon Cowell and my big club going upside his head.
As far as the rest of the programs went they were junk. We kept watching them hoping for something with some real writing in it or some sort of social value but it just wasn’t there. It didn’t stop us from watching TV obsessively but it wasn’t good TV.
We had tried some changes. First we got Direct TV. Eventually we learned that having a lot more channels just meant we had a lot more channels that were featuring junk TV. Eventually we dropped Direct TV and went with local stations and Net Flix.
We enjoyed Net Flix a lot more but our evenings were still a mess. Our evening meals were hurriedly prepared, put on trays and eaten in front of the TV. We always started with Jeopardy, followed by Wheel Of Fortune, followed either by some situation comedies or followed by Net Flix. We must have watched Net Flix eight or ten hours a week and sometimes a lot more than that.
We did have some fun with Net Flix. For one thing there were no commercials. For another we discovered old TV shows made before the advent of reality shows. We watched several old TV series from their pilot to the last show they made. We watched a lot of movies too and enjoyed many of them.
For some unknown reason, we bottomed out on June 22nd. Perhaps we’d just been chained to the TV and the couch for too long. At any rate, June 22nd was the day we decided we were done with TV and Net Flix for 30 days.
What a great lesson. We eat at the kitchen table now and talk to each other. We get our news from the newspaper and the internet and don’t read the ads on either one unless we want to. Sometimes we actually go out of the house in the evening and get together with other people. We’ve rediscovered puzzles and sewing machines and chess games. We call friends and family on the telephone and actually talk to them instead of considering them an interruption to a program. I wrote letters to a couple of cousins I haven’t seen for a lot of years and got letters from them in return. How neat is that?
Last but not least we’ve re/discovered reading. We remembered that if you go to the Public Library and check out books you can be entertained for hours and its free! You can even learn things. Did you know for example, that the Three Musketeers is actually a story about Four Musketeers?
The thirty days is past now but we are still free and the TV is still off. As good as this freedom feels it might be off for good.
Sorry, grubby looking tough guy but you are just going to have to find someone else to impress.