More a family member than an appliance in my childhood, the television soothed, entertained, kept us company, filled time, took the edge off, and lulled us to sleep. Then it woke us gently with white noise at 1:45 a.m. Friday and Saturday. One of life’s greatest rewards was rising early Saturday mornings to see Johnny Quest or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas near the holiday
. As I matured, television offered the best of sports, scary movies, profanities that I had not yet heard and a glimpse of sex.
SEX????!!!! Yes, sex.
Even as an early 3o-something the Houston Rockets, The Office and Scrubs kept me tuned in. Then there came these paged filled, metaphor drenched, thought-provoking machines.
They had long, obscure words that needed looking up. They made references to people, places and events that I’d like to know about, but do not. They had me referencing, deducing, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating. Evening programs all but vanished with the advent of thought through reading books.
The Poor Tube, Disenfranchised
Then our lives changed dramatically with a transition to self-employment and the shrill morning news programs that we once endured before leaving for work disappeared. A forecast can be seen on our laptops any time. A student will tell us if a hurricane is imminent, I am sure. One begins to take an interest in the cable bill when TV is relegated to fifteen minutes at lunch time, just so we don’t have to talk with our mouths full. $65!!!!???? Yes, $65 a month for fifteen minutes a day, four days a week. We have lunch out Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Why the hell not?
Well, thought I, the cable company must have a package for eggheads
like us. So I called and asked for their least expensive package.
What package do you have now? Asked the young man.
The one on your monitor next to my name and account number, I presume, considered I.
But said instead, The top 150 channel package thingy or something like that.
For $25 a month we have America’s Top 120 which includes USA, CNN, CMT, Disney, ESPN, E! and…..
I’m so sorry to interrupt, but we do not need all those channels. Is there something more basic? My wife and I hardly ever watch TV, but we like your service. I bumbled.
Uh, well. Ummmmm. Lemme see…. There is a package, but it is very, very basic.
I mean you’d have only a few, like 50…..
Yes, very good. Will you read me the list of channels?
What, reader, might you do with an extra $49 a month and all that delicious time with your partner?