I have to admit that I'm a little bit ashamed of myself.
Every now and then, when I'm sitting in my apartment, bored out of my skull, I'll watch a little TV. But that's not what I'm ashamed of.
What shames me is that I have to get up from the couch from time to time and adjust my set. Not the knobs no, there are no knobs or the volume controls or channel switches. But I have to adjust the set itself. I mean, its position in my apartment.
Why, you might ask?
The answer might be obvious, but it also dates me. It puts me back in the dark ages and tells everyone I haven't availed myself of even the most primitive of entertainment technologies. It's because I don't have cable.
Nope. No cable, no satellite, no Dish Network, no antenna. It's because I've missed out on HBO, CNN, Comedy Central and the Cartoon Network for so many years I don't remember what they're like.
I have to physically move my TV set on its casters to adjust the reception that appears to be coming from the coax cable that connects it to my VCR and DVD player.
How sad is that?
I've thought about, and even verbalized on several occasions, my intentions to buy a set of those wired, chromium, telescoping marvels of the 1950s but haven't brought myself to do it. That's right, bunny ears. But I'm not sure if it's that I can bring myself to invest in clarifying broadcast TV, or that I'd like to remain as far detached from it as I can. After all, it does require some effort on my part at the moment to watch TV.
But if I had a set of bunny ears, or God forbid cable, would I be able to control the beast and realize when it's getting the better of me?
I had cable through high school while I was living at home, and at one time, during college. But sometime or another between when the cable got turned off at our apartment and my moving to my own place, it just became irrelevant, even a luxury that might not be all it's cracked up to be.
While I sit at home and watch TV now, whether it's news, sitcoms, late-night talk shows or PBS, I've got to get up and wiggle my TV if I change the channel to get the one I want to come in clear enough not to make me mad while I watch it.
One might ask: “Why don't you get cable?”
Sure I could do that. I live in town. I've even got a cable outlet on the wall. Where? Behind my TV.
I like to reason to myself that it's because TV is bad for me. It's bad for you. Aren't there studies out there done by liberal think tanks that say the more TV kids watch, the fatter and stupider they are? That the more TV adults watch, the more out of touch they are with real life?
In college, a theory studied in one journalism class I took withheld that the more nightly news a person consumes, the more that person thinks is wrong in the world. It's the theory of the “mean, scary world.” You know. You've seen it on TV.
There was another shooting, or three, in Atlanta. Someone else got robbed. Another raped. Twelve people died in six car wrecks on the perimeter, a hurricane is coming and the government is stealing your money “all within the first eleven minutes” followed by one segment of that duck that gave birth on the lawn of the White House for color.
Even as I'm writing this, I'm distracted by the Tonight Show monologue traveling across the airwaves and finding its way to my TV's built-in receptor and clogging my brain so that I can concentrate only on what Jay Leno is recounting of Madonna's speech from the balcony of her English estate denouncing the “material world.”
Only when I play a Charlie Parker CD on my jam box can I get back to work and focus.
Yes, I was trying to write a column about the wonderful world of TV and kick myself for all the things I'm missing out on. And I'm sure it is in small, carefully measured doses.
Michael Davis covers government for the Daily Herald. His column appears on Fridays. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .