Are you a victim of cable TV?

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Once again, I have let a perfect opportunity for martyrdom pass me right by.
Isn’t that always how it is? Blink, you miss it, and before you know it, all the good victimizations are taken.
Case in point: a Wisconsin man who became addicted to cable television is threatening to sue his local cable company.
He claims cable television made his children lazy and his wife fat.
Apparently, the plaintiff asked that his cable be disconnected in 1999, but although the billing stopped, the cable didn’t. Instead, his cable stayed on for another four years, rendering his family helpless to pull the plug.
Case against cable. Why, you might ask, did he not simply cut the cord, figuratively and literally?
The “cable victim” claims he thought such an act was illegal.
Curiously, he had no such qualms about receiving premium service for free.
Why then, did he not simply refuse to watch? He’s got that covered too – claiming “his remote control exerted a power so irresistible he could not force himself to stop watching.”
Granted, I can see how that could happen, particularly if such “defense” would allow me to hold Dairy Queen completely responsible for my waistline. You think a remote control can exert an irresistible force? You’ve never gotten between me and a peanut buster parfait, pal.
Of course, I personally am not irresponsible enough to blame cable television for my woes. I only WISH I could blame cable.
A part of me. I am a child of the 70s and 80s, which gives me license to be a sitcom junkie and complete, if undeserved, authority on all things television.
Growing up smack in the midst of the death throe of the network’s stranglehold on public airwaves, I spent a good deal of my formative years watching sitcoms both old and (then) new.
There was a plethora from which to choose: Little Rascals, Leave It to Beaver, and Bewitched, just to name a few.
Under hypnosis, my childhood recollections would, no doubt, heavily feature the Fonz and Ritchie caught in some hilarious escapade down at Arnold’s.
The Cosby Show and Murphy Brown alone are probably directly responsible for great portions of my parenting style and candor, respectively.
In that light, I’m not sure whether to pay homage or place blame.
Days and weekends. At my house, located in the center of nowhere, we had only four channels: 3, 5, 8 and one fuzzy PBS station.
We enjoyed this programming bounty, provided, of course, there was no wind, rain, or any meteorological interference, which would turn all stations into our own personal weather channel: pure snow.
During the day, soap operas and game shows featuring has-been, B-list “celebrities” (and Paul Lind) passed as entertainment.
Somewhere, deep in the recesses of my mind, I am wasting valuable brain cells retaining the price of Duz detergent, circa 1977, courtesy of The Price is Right.
As for weekends, save Saturday mornings and those few precious hours when Scooby Doo and the ilk sprang to life, one might as well have hung TV up. It’s difficult for even the most dedicated couch potato to sit through The Wide World of Sports coverage of lawn bowling.
Blame. Still, all this cranial clutter was beamed into my house for FREE. There was no way to cut the (cable) cord. Broadcast television was, quite literally, in the air we breathed.
Sure, theoretically, I could have just turned it “off,” but this was in the days before the remote control. I would have had to get up and walk ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE ROOM. As if!
Clearly, I am the victim here! I should sue network broadcasters for making me what I am today.
Meanwhile, as a man who has now publicly called his wife “fat” – and on national television no less – the poor beleaguered cable victim should add one more claim for damages to his lawsuit: Something (cable television, perhaps?) has apparently made him really, really dumb.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt loves television far too much. She welcomes comment c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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