I hate those cursed bastards at Time Warner Cable - they coerced me into giving my life over to the bright glow of my 32" television. I still remember receiving my first bill from those devils, $29.95 and suddenly my soul was gone. The programming isn't that great, but all it takes is one good show out of a hundred to flush thirty minutes of your life down the tube.
I originally got cable to see basketball games (NBA and NCAA) - basketball is an obsession I can live with... but of course, cable sucked me into much more. Most mornings begin with an unhealthy dose of SportsCenter. Hey, I'm eating my cereal - the entertainment value in most cereals is low, except maybe Rice Krispies. Snap, Crackle, Pop, Rice Krispies. Who doesn't love that theme song? Usually I watch between 10-15 minutes of SportsCenter and catch the worst 15 minutes of the show (all the best stuff occurs at the beginning). Special K and banana with a little steroid talk and basketball highlights on the side.
After a grueling day at the office (haha), I need a little "zone out" time. Time for my mind to turn into mush and listen to some sports "experts" discuss the day in sports. Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser battle it out on ESPN in a show called PTI, Pardon The Interuption. The show is like a timed sports version of Crossfire. A one-minute discussion occurs between the hosts on subjects like Kobe's selfishness, steroid usage, the Virginia coaching job, and the NBA's MVP race (Nash better win...). 30 minutes of time daily - flushed.
Next up at 6PM, on Court TV they show NYPD Blue reruns. What can I say - I'm a fan. The show ran for 12 years so there are a few episodes I've missed. For me, it doesn't matter whether Detective Sipowicz's partner is David Caruso, Jimmy Smits, Ricky Schroder, or Zach Morris (oops, I mean Mark Paul Gosselaar). I watch them all - enjoying every minute the cops brow beat some unsuspecting rapist. One hour of time daily - flushed.
Most normal people turn the television off at this point... It's time to do something worthwhile with their time like reading a book, working out at the gym, eating, something else, anything... Not me, The Daily Show is on next. Yes it's reruns from the previous day, but I can't stay up until 11PM on a work night. Sarcasm and irony run amok as Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, and the rest of the gang run through the daily news. Highlights include the God machine, Bush's sack size (that's right, nut sack), and anytime Bush says something stupid (usually daily). 30 minutes of time daily - flushed.
7:30 is terrible unless basketball starts early. During this time I flip through my fifty-four stations searching for satisfaction and all I can find is Hollywood Tonight or Cosby Show reruns. Oh, damnit - it's 7:30 I'd better fix dinner fast. 8:00 is rolling up fast - full of television potential. AMC movies, TNT broadcasting the NBA, ESPN has the NIT basketball championship, or movie selections from Comedy Central, FX, or USA. If not, I've got my three netflix movies to watch. Two hours - flushed.
Ten o'clock to eleven o'clock is a tricky time. I'm left pondering bed time or watching the end of some horrifically poor basketball game. Basketball it is... 30 minutes - flushed.
My biggest problem, and I have a few to choose from, is not my weakness of character, boredom with life, or those bastards at basic cable. None of those things make me push the Power button on the remote control. Habit... I am a creature of habit and obsession. If I see a show once and like it - I have to see them all just to prove that I like it. Casual viewing is not in my vocabulary. Most of my life is cornered by obsessions... Basketball began my obsessiveness - playing morning, day, and night. Then, hip-hop music followed in my highschool years and the film fixation came in college when my favorite video store ran a special deal (one movie a day for a month at $25).
I'm going to beat this obsession however, because it leaves me with no satisfaction. There is nothing redeeming about knowing the plot for every NYPD Blue episode, remembering every ironic line Jon Stewart says, or seeing every game winning basket in the NCAA tournament. This is my AA meeting, people - I'm admitting I have a problem. Now, I'm going to fight to beat this damn thing. BE STRONG. Tell those jackasses to stick that $29.95 up their ass. Three obsessions is enough for any man. I'm reminded of an Aesop Rock song called Basic Cable:
"plug it in, turn it on, prop me up against the couch
lights out, I ain't ever gonna have to leave my house
satellite dish, get up on my wish list, turn me to a tyrant
let my clean spirit dissolve through the appliance
plug it in, turn it on, be my mother when she's gone, great
wipe the spittle off my chinny-chin during the breaks
if I gotta go blind I'mma do it for the love of all television kind
and that's fine, and that's fine..."
It's no longer fine with me. Cancel my cable - PLEASE...