Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Goodbye Boob Tube .... at least for now

I'm finishing day 9 of a 30 day experiment- no TV. No network TV, no streaming, Netflix, Youtube.   I read a Fast Company article last week, How Giving Up TV For A Month Changed My Brain And My Life, and it challenged me. So I am giving it a try.

Not that I watched that much anyway. Star Trek TNG, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Call The Midwife, Sherlock, Boardwalk Empire, Maria Bamford, maybe a movie, and then I was through for the night. Okay, I didn't watch all of those every night, but usually two or three. I've made it through this first week okay. And if I can make it through the next couple, I should make it more than the 30, since I'm going to Africa at the end of the month for a couple of weeks. I know, they have TV over there, but I'll be busy doing other things. I remember being in Belgium years ago, coming in from some touring, turning on the TV in my refrigerator sized room, and watching The Dukes of Hazard. In Flemish. A waste of a beautiful language.

I've noticed some things. First, I don't (as yet) miss it. Which means I was probably mindlessly watching it. Well, it is the boob tube. And I've kept up with important stuff other ways- radio, newspaper, occasional smoke signal. I don't need to see video of radical Southern terrorists to know the harm and damage they do. Or Donald Trump ranting and Hillary Clinton responding. I've seen enough already.

Second, I'm sleeping better. I do not usually sleep well through the night. Haven't for a long time. But I am doing better. Hoping one night to make it six hours in a row.

And third, I've been thinking about the shows I used to watch. Not a lot, but about one characteristic that jumps out now. Almost none of them ever have anyone watching TV. The sitcoms, the dramas, even the animated shows, usually have people talking to each other, going somewhere, doing something. My wife is a big fan of HG TV. She loves to watch Fixer Upper. That show and the couple on it have saved HGTV in the same way that Pawn Stars saved The History Channel several years ago. Chip and Joanna Gaines are getting to be more than famous for their TV show as well as what seems like a great marriage. In a recent interview, Joanna revealed that they do not have a TV in their home. Their children do not watch TV. They do not watch TV. Not even their own show.

If people who make a living on TV do not watch TV, that ought to tell us something.

Now I have read most of my magazines. I've finished a couple of books. And even begun writing again. Will I make it 30 days? I don't know, but I think I will. And in the meantime, I'll get a few other things done.

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