Like many late 1990s kids, I was raised by the television. I spent a large portion of my time rotting in front of the TV for the value of being ‘entertained.’
Entertained. Instead of actually taking action in your own life, no matter how big or small, it is easier to be ‘entertained.’
Forget learning about life and the new world I was growing up in, it was easier to sit in front of this flashy TV device. This magic box would keep me “entertained” and teach me everything I needed to know about the world.
If my parents did not want to talk to me or teach me something, they simply could say “Go watch TV.” Or scream it at me.
I’m sure plenty of you had this experience too. The TV was your primary parent when you were growing up.
My family took numerous vacations, mostly when I was much younger. We always got along well during the trips. While at home, it was like a completely different world.
The only way I remember spending anytime together as a family at home was if we were all watching the same show together. Usually it was some sitcom of a suburban middle class family where the Dad was a crybaby loser and had a dickface boss and the Mom was a stay-at-home bully.
How hilarious we all thought these shows were. Instead of having our own lives, we just had to sit down and push a few buttons on one of the four remotes.
Don’t you dare talk about your ever-growing emptiness and sadness, just sit down here and watch the new giant flashing box that cost $3800. God forbid the remotes were ever malfunctioning.
The magical TV set would fill the void of our own life stories and instead replace it with a fictional characters’ story. Looking back, most of these fiction TV characters were not in the least bit interesting. Their lives looked like shit. Why would you watch this garbage?
Forty-five year old married men and women were getting bossed around by their parents.
Around the time I was 17, I started watching several episodes per day of a few of my old favorite shows on an extra computer monitor. The monitor was next to the main monitor where I was ‘working’ on homework for school or pissing away time online while waiting for my life to happen.
This went on for around for a couple of years as a mainstream activity, at least until my first ever storm chasing trip.
After that, the appeal of watching TV was subtly losing its grip without my realization. I still occasionally would turn my actual TV on in my bedroom, but it was mostly for background noise, perhaps to distract from my own thoughts.
Eventually, I started to more consciously realize how absurd the entire idea of watching TV as an actual focal activity was.
I had friends from my first jobs, who vocally hated those jobs, that would go home and watch over a dozen episodes of the same show in a continuous flow. They would sit at their computer and watch TV for six or more hours until the sun came up and then they would go to sleep.
Looking back, that just seems so pitiful. Why not try to do something, anything with your very limited time and life on this Earth?
I still remember the day I sold my TV on craigslist. It was over four years ago now, about one year after I graduated high school.
It was 25″ TV with an embedded VCR. Wow, VCR? That makes it seem like it was a real piece of shit.
My tiny room at my parents’ house felt a lot emptier now. More importantly, it also felt a lot less crowded and noisy. This was the beginning stages of simplifying my life.
Don’t mistake me for some anti-TV crusader. If you want to watch TV for ten hours a day, by all means, DO IT. This is your life, not mine.
My girlfriend has a Netflix account; we have no cable subscription. Occasionally after a long day of working, we will put something on while eating dinner.
Yes, in front of the TV. No, I’m not some perfect Buddha or even remotely close. The profanity should have demonstrated that shit.
It’s almost always something along the lines of a documentary, or perhaps an adventurous travel show. If not one of those, then it’s likely South Park. I’ll always watch South Park (I honestly consider it more educational than many ‘educational’ shows.)
If I were to compute the weekly average amount of time spent in front of the TV, it amounts to around ten minutes per week. Compare that to over 40 hours (2,520 minutes per week) in my previous lives.
///Average 6 hours per day, which is a generously low amount, multiply by 7 days per week equals 42 hours/2,250 minutes of TV.///
That’s approximately 0.28% of the time spent previously watching TV. You could also say that’s a 99.7% decrease in the amount of time spent watching TV per week.
The point is, I don’t watch nearly as much of that horseshit anymore. There are simply too many other things that are vastly more interesting and /actually/ entertaining.
When I even try to think of the idea of sitting down and watching a flashing TV box for a few hours at one time, I cannot fathom how such a task can be done.
Perhaps I’ll be bedridden by an illness again in the future, but I would probably spend a lot more time reading or listening to podcasts if that were the case.
If there is a presidential debate on, I may watch it. If there is a marquee college football or basketball game on, I may watch that.
I used to love watching sports but even that has faded away overtime. There is simply too much else to accomplish and explore in this world. Why watch when you can do?
Sitcoms? Forget that garbage, it has been years since I even caught a glimpse of a “sitcom.”
Seinfeld was great, but I’ve seen them all and never need to watch it again. If I happen to enter a room of someone’s house where a sitcom is on, I’m shocked that people actually still watch that shit, but perhaps I’m an arrogant bastard.
Movies? I like a few movies from the past. Fight Club, Apollo 13 and Every Christmas movie ever come to mind.
I really don’t hate TV, and I don’t hold any grudges against it whatsoever anymore. I just view it as part of my past. An important part even. I grew up in front of the television. Cable and satellite television literally raised me.
Now I am deprogramming from those days and experimenting with new, more difficult, yet much more fulfilling chapters of life.
How much TV do you watch? Would you like to watch a lot less? Have you ever thought about tossing your TV in the trash or smashing it with an axe?