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Groanings of a disgruntled viewer - Jason A. Smith

It's amazing what kinds of revelations can come to you, when you're sitting in front of the television.

I was recently compelled, due to a cold and sore throat which I had fought valiantly for a few days, to call in sick to work. After resting in bed for a little while, I took some medicine, got up and went to my living room.

My wife had already gone to work, so I was left alone in a desperate attempt to find something, to keep me from being utterly bored for the rest of the day.

I turned on the television, to acquaint myself with the shows which air during a typical weekday. Since we don't have cable at my house anymore, my choices were more limited than I would have liked, but I did what I could.

I was quickly reminded of what I have known for years, in the back of my mind: There is nothing good on TV anymore.

I must have gone, a hundred times, through the few channels my remote control would access. There is only so much soap-opera drama -- whether in the form of "All My Children" or "The Jerry Springer Show" -- that one person can handle.

Even the majority of the commercials were starting to get on my nerves, for a different reason. Since we are approaching an election, candidates for various state-wide offices were all over the airwaves, vying for the voters' approval.

Actually, they weren't really telling me why they were the best choice for the jobs they were seeking, as much as they were talking about why the other guy is the wrong one.

The longer I watched, the more negative the advertisements seemed to become -- on both sides of the political aisle.

After a while, I started to wonder where the commercials ended, and the "Jerry! Jerry!" chant began.

I eventually opted to switch the TV to video-game mode, resigned to the concept that I would find nothing else worthwhile to entertain or inform me in my infirmed state.

I also began to develop a deep longing, for the return of my cable TV service, and the end of the election season.

Physically, I feel a bit better than I did on the day I was out sick. In other ways, however, I feel a sense of sickness about the society we live in, because of what passes for news and entertainment today.

Something tells me it's something more than what a few pills, or video games, will fix.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.