"The Sky Is Falling... by
The Sky Is Falling"
sky is falling…the sky is falling”……so said Chicken Little when she heard that
analog television was being phased out later on this month. Surely the world as
we know it is coming to an end.
I think not.
Yes, I know that
unless you have a converter or an HD ready television you won’t be able to watch
anything when the whole system gets changed over to digital. But you know I don’t
really care. And truth to tell… neither do you. I mean what would it hurt if we
were forced to give up watching the tube for some period of time? I don’t think
my life would be negatively impacted at all, do you?
If you are as old
as I am you can remember life before we had television. My grandmother was one
of the first people in our neighborhood with a set. The programming didn’t come
on until late in the afternoon and I can recall going to her house and watching
the test pattern for about thirty minutes before Howdy Doody or something along
that line finally appeared. I believe all of the stations (maybe three) signed
off with the national anthem at midnight. Trust me we were not deprived by not
having twenty four hour programming on three hundred or more channels.
to hear the media tell us, there is a great hue and cry going up all across the
land because there are not enough cable box converters to go around. This means
a lot of people may have to actually wait weeks or months to see wrestling or
Jack Bauer save the world. How can the citizens of this country exist if they
don’t get their daily dose of the nightly news or ET? Whatever that is.
I do not mourn the loss of television. In my opinion, I think we could do without
our daily fix for many months, even years without any loss to our society or our
culture. For way too long, we have substituted the box for companionship, conversation
and communication not only between our spouses but our children, friends and parents
as well. If you have ever visited a nursing home, look in the television room.
That’s where they (a lot of the homes, not all of them) park the residents and
allow them to watch mindless programming hour after numbing hour instead of engaging
them in activities to stimulate their minds and bodies.
Parents, are we
doing our children and grandchildren any favors by plunking them down in front
of the TV when they could be outside playing (actual physical exercise) or reading
a book or even (heavens forbid) studying their homework?
I think not.
I think it would do us all some good, myself included to just unplug the thing
and let it sit for a year or so. I doubt we would miss anything at all. I don’t
know about you, but there are times where I want to go take a bath after watching
some of these programs. There are other times when I just say to myself… ‘Why
in God’s name did I just waste an hour of my time watching that garbage?’ I could
have done something useful …like getting some exercise or baking a cake. Not the
best of two worlds, but then again you know what I mean. Look back at the times
in your life where you didn’t have a television or access to a television. You
suffer? Were you in pain? Didn’t you eventually find out who shot JR anyway? Can’t
you read the baseball scores in the paper? Have you ever listened to the radio
and then imagined a football game as it was being played?
Listen to me
folks; life is too short to be a slave to a dumb box sitting in our houses. Like
most of us, we have hundreds of channels that we have to pay for, and we watch
at the most ten or fifteen. That is insanity.
I don’t need a converter,
but I can tell you I am thinking about life btv……that’s before television. It
was a gentler, more peaceful time in my life and I want it back.
Letters From North America February
5, 2009 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to firstname.lastname@example.org
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