This will not go down in history as an earth changing event. In fact, few people will know and the majority of the world could care less. But, at our house and in the pursuit of some degree of sanity, we "cut the (TV) cable"!
The stuff labelled as "must see television" was not really as important as the program suggested and the true benefits from cutting the cable continue to improve our sanity, our priorities and our utility bills.
Giving up cigarettes or some personal addiction is never easy. Probably the fear of withdrawal from anything that has become a habit keeps us hesitant to act on change.
At our house we found the television set was on too much of the time with no one even in the room. Having it on however, eliminated the "sound of silence" that we associate with loneliness. Checking the weather channel for an update every 30 minutes had become a habit that started first thing in the morning and actually the forecast really never changed significantly during the day. We also discovered that we were frequently having coffee in front of the non-stop television set, rather than discussing something meaningful at the kitchen table. To our surprise this had actually become a part of the daily routine.
How many times during the day do you need or even want to hear about Donald Trump's tweets? It turned out for us the answer was "zero" but if the news was on, the news imposes on you the latest Trump Gospel even if you didn't care. Would you believe the shock to our lifestyle when there were suddenly not just extra free minutes, but over the period of a week hours of time available for meaningful activities -- time to read books, use the computer to research family genealogy and communicate with friends over the back fence. Not really the back fence, but I think you know what I mean. It's the communication, not the location that improved.
Of course, the cable company said they "hated to lose us." The truth be told, our monthly contribution to their bottom line was really what they missed. When we started talking about making this major change in our lifestyle, our household found others have survived the shock of such a drastic change and they offered numerous ways to have most of the cable benefits with a more modest expense. Having a potential crutch if we couldn't adapt to the loss of this source of entertainment was an outlet that we never pursued when we found ourselves with so many meaningful outlets for our time.
Finding the appropriate antenna for use in the attic was a trial and error event.
Just making sure the old guy didn't fall through the ceiling was a challenge greater than the loss of the ESPN football games. This might be more for the younger set or professionals if one puts it off too long. Really this proved to be more error than we wanted to admit, since the first antenna was electronically defective (poor circuit work). A defective Chinese chip resulted in much of the trial of my aging patience as well as needless frustration concerning proper wiring, etc.
As part of the true confession, the biggest television addiction was my love of football -- college football, professional football, high school or Canadian football. The things that attract me are not always of interest to others. The long pass completions and dazzling runs are spectacular. However, I enjoy seeing a penalty before the announcers, or trying to second guess the coaches. For me the game is about personnel management, details of the pass patterns, and the attitude of the coaches. Breaking the ESPN habit was a major personal accomplishment. A challenge met and a challenge conquered.
As a post script, the antenna has its limitations. We get only a few stations which is probably a benefit or at least a good thing. We may need to get a larger outdoor antenna at some time in the future, but for now we bask in our accomplishment of learning a little bit about self denial and having the satisfaction that with 30 smokeless years behind me, we now are free from another "addiction."
Editor's note: Leo Lynch, an award-winning columnist, is a native of Benton County and has deep roots in northwest Arkansas. The opinions expressed are those of the author. He is a retired industrial engineer and former Justice of the Peace.Editorial on 01/02/2019
Print Headline: Resisting an addiction