Nixed TV
Off the Wall, Oct 2, 2009

I think it always takes a bit of courage to do something that is worthwhile, particularly if it is beneficial to one’s person. So, what I’m about to acknowledge you may have already figured out by my title – yes, I no longer am stretching out, watching the tube.

I have come to the conclusion that watching television for some people is a way of life, just as going to work eight to ten hours a day is another. The one good thing about the latter is that one usually knows when to quit. The TV “addict” doesn’t have a clue, and really doesn’t care. That thing has become his god, and he “worships” it.

I can just imagine what may be going through some people’s mind – “Hey, you’re going to miss the Steelers play!” Guess what? That’s no biggy to me. I’m not saying I’m not a Steelers’ fan. I just value my time just a little more than watching grown men carry a pig’s skin up and down the field who are paid more money than I’ll ever see in my life.

I think not watching the horizontal screen is a reconditioning process at best. I’ll be omitting noise bellowing out of a mechanism and enjoying more peace and quiet, at least as much as I can experience living here on Ligonier Street with all the truck traffic.

I had to laugh. There is a friend of mine who watches TV from sun up to sun down. He calls me every evening just to chat. He always starts out his conversations with the question, “What’s new?” Well, now that I’m not watching television, I told him the ball is in his court now, and he will have to fill me in on world, national and local events. I’m not going to hold my breath, as the saying goes, but, I hope he gets caught up on world affairs. I can always find out via the newspaper, for instance, or by word of mouth.

Still, we are creatures of habit, as I have heard and mentioned before in my columns. We think we have to do certain things at certain times because those things are customary. Going to church to praise and worship God – YES, television – NO!

Not only am I going to put forth some questions, but answer them as well. Maybe you can see where I am going with this.

What’s the first thing you do after working hard? Let me guess. You take a bath, change into some clean clothes and then head toward the living or TV room and turn on the set – right? What if instead of turning on television, you plunk down on the chair of comfort, grab a favorite book and proceed to educate yourself. Wouldn’t that be more of a plus? Don’t tell me you don’t like to read. I think it is more that you never were introduced to a book that you couldn’t put down.

I remember when I was young, my parents introduced me to the Hardy Boy mystery books. I’d polish one off and couldn’t wait until I got the next one to begin reading. I think I read the whole series in record time.

I can just hear it now. I don’t like mysteries, or people’s stories, or where the wheel was invented. Well, guess what? You are left with over 500 other categories from which to choose.

Did you ever wonder when you walk into a doctor office, why people there may be reading books instead of magazines? That’s because some little voice tip-toed through their minds leading them to buy a book of their liking. Believe me when I tell you, one’s waiting just for you.

That brings me back to the subject at hand – what can be done if one nixes TV? Here are some ideas – do God’s work serving others, bake cookies and give them to your neighbor, develop a hobby and fine-tune its particulars, discover the great outdoors, clean the house, read and understand scripture passages from all the books in the Holy Bible, balance the checkbook, write letters to friends and family, especially those whom may not have a computer, develop goals and then abide by them, redecorate the living quarters or dabble some paint on needed areas on or in your home, wash cloths more often, collect pictures of your god children, throw out or give away unwanted possessions, give some clothing items to the homeless, thank your public servants for being there when needed, and pray for others. Turn off the set! You have jobs to do. Now you can get them done.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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