The television, that insidious beast, that Medusa which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little. ~Ray Bradbury
I am seriously considering getting rid of my cable TV subscription. For two weeks I had no TV when the cable convertor box died and, except for some mild annoyance when I could not watch Manchester United play their opening match of the 2012 season, I did not miss having the boob tube active in my home. In fact, for most of this year, I have limited my time in front of the television, limited it to a few carefully chosen shows so it would not consume inordinate amounts of my precious time. These I record and watch on DVR so as not to spend time accosted by commercials.
So, what has filled the void?
I took on an activity at work this year, creating and giving a six part leadership training course, that has brought me great deal of personal satisfaction and required many hours of extended time in the office. The extended office time felt more like play than working so I did not mind putting in regular 10 to 12 hour days for weeks and months on end in addition to time at home once I left the office. Creating the class has required many hours of research on the internet and in books. It is mainly in books that I have invested many of the hours previously sucked away by the tube.
Books are a lot cheaper than cable TV and are a far more satisfying investment of my time. So far this year, I have read 74 books and have many more I want to get through. I am thinking this continued wise investment of my time may enable me to read 100 before the end of the year. I have never read that many books in a year probably have not read that many books over two to three years. I feel I have been on a reading binge for the past nine months. And I feel I am a more well rounded and intelligent human because of the reading binge.
When I do sit in front of the TV these days, I usually end up feeling guilty because my time investment realizes minuscule dividends when compared to the knowledge that could have been fed into my brain, my personal data bank, that magical organ capable of learning that applying that learning in new and wonderful ways. This guilt feeling is especially troubling when the show I watched was a rerun of something I had seen previously or I suddenly look at my watch and find hours have been lost to emptiness. After watching TV, I find myself wondering how much growth as an individual would have occurred if I had spent that last hour reading a book on leadership or poetry or philosophy or history or a biography or a fictional story.
For me, there are three must watch shows in “The Big Bang Theory”, “Dr. Who” and the weekly “English Premier League Highlight Show” and one must watch sport in soccer especially when Manchester United is displaying their magic on the pitch. Getting rid of cable TV would mean that I would no longer have access to Dr. Who or any soccer games worth watching. I would still be able to watch Big Bang but, albeit, with the dreaded commercials. Getting rid of cable TV would mean I could no longer watch the exquisite Champions League matches on ESPN. Getting rid of cable TV would also minimize the amount of drivel available to me on a daily basis.
Getting rid of cable TV would also mean additional coin in my piggy bank, coinage that could be utilized visiting exotic locales instead of ‘experiencing’ them through the tube. Getting rid of cable would free up additional time to build my mind by learning from the great minds in history. Giving up my cable TV seems like a win-win situation for me.
What would it take for you to give up your cable TV?