'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
ANNUAL STRUGGLE WITH THE BOOB TUBE
Itís the middle of another cold, dark, and snowy winter. As often happens this time of year, I am embroiled in a nasty tussle with a dear family member. This family member, with whom Iíve had a serious love-hate relationship for decades, is our television.
Folks who know me, especially other family members who do not happen to be electronic devices, know that I love TV. During the winter itís easy to watch TV for upwards of 26 hours per day. OK, I realize there are only 24 hours in a day, but if you channel-surf deftly enough, you can view the equivalent of 26 hours of programming in, say, a ten hour periodóeven including bathroom breaks. Sometimes I watch three different shows simultaneously. Yes, I end up missing bits and pieces of key scenes, but luckily the plots of network programs are so weak nowadays, itís easy to follow the storyline in snippets. (Or what we TV-watching experts call ďThe Snippetization Process.Ē)
But once in a while I start to wonder if Iím wasting a lot of valuable time by staring at the TV for hours on end. Are there other, more important things I could be doing with my life? If I didnít watch so much TV, maybe I could write the Great American Novel. Or maybe I could engage in actual conversation with other human beings and deepen personal relationships. Um yeah, Iíd better write the novel first and then work on the more difficult task later.
To help me decide if I should stop watching TV, I made a list of pros and cons (which took a while because I worked on the list only during commercials). I came up with a few reasons why I should quit TV, and about a dozen reasons why I should continue watching.
I made a strategic blunder when I asked my wife if she had any items she could add to the list. She offered zero reasons why I should keep watching, and as fast as a human being can possibly speak she rattled off about a hundred reasons why I should quit.
Unfortunately, her testimony was judged to be way too biased, and therefore inadmissible, because all her reasons had something to do with either home maintenance projects or engaging in actual conversation with other human beings to deepen personal relationships. Oh, she did have one other reason that did not fall into either of those two categories, something about the risk that a personís brain can be transformed over time into a bowl of mushy guacamole dip.
I suppose my wife has a point. There are some good reasons why I should stop watching TV for a while. Although at the moment I canít recall any of the specific reasons, possibly because Iím distracted right now by a green mushy substance oozing out of my ears.
Maybe Iíll start with a small trial period of, say, one month. Iíll give up all TV for the next 30 days, and then at the end of that time Iíll see if there are any noticeable changes.
This plan should work wellóas long as there are not any major sporting events scheduled to be broadcast in the near future. Is there some big made-for-TV ballgame coming up soon, possibly this Sunday night? I canít quite remember. I keep racking my brain, but all I come up with is the smell of avocado.
Well, if there is a big game on TV, Iíll need to get a bag of chips. Iíve already got plenty of guacamole dip.
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