Drug of the Nation

I turned off my TV three months ago and I haven’t turned it back on since.

static.gifIt was mostly due to laziness. I moved the TV into H8’s room so he could pursue his Playstation and related noise-making activities in the privacy of his own space, and leave me in peace to sit on the sofa and fret about girls not liking me, well at least not the right ones.

And then, when H8 went back to his mum’s, I noticed a strange calm had descended upon the flat. It took a while to realise that it was due to the large empty space when the noise box used to sit. Suddenly the room had a harmony and balance and so I put a few plastic flowers in the corner and left it at that.

no_tv.JPGGradually I realised that I didn’t miss the thing. All it ever did was make me angry and tired. 30 minutes in front of the box always left me as drained as if I had just consumed an entire Swedish pizza. Doing some other activity upon coming home – baking, listening to music, shagging – actually gave me energy – the TV just took it away.

So now I have discovered that I have a LOT of free time. Admittedly I fill most of this time by staring at a different kind of screen, but I also play my guitar more often, listen to the music I have downloaded, read books, and pedal myself into a sweaty frenzy on my beloved exercise bike (while fretting about girls who don’t like me, well at least not the right ones).

TV exists for one simple reason – to sell you stuff you don’t need and don’t need to know about. Either it’s the mindless products they blare at you, or else the programs themselves, in the form of lifestyles, clothes, DVD boxes, ribbed condoms or Happy Meals.

And by pulling that particular drip out of my arm I have reduced my exposure to advertising by 50% and my exposure to idiots and wankers by about 95%.

Now even my colleagues at work have caught on and have stopped asking me questions beginning with the words: “Did you happen to see”. And that’s kind of nice too.

Help and support for addicts can be found here and here.

/ paddy

20 thoughts on “Drug of the Nation

  1. Yup, you’re right. I unplugged ours 18 months ago to do some rewiring and moving stuff, and never got around to re-connecting it. And I don’t miss it a bit. On the rare occasions there’s a ‘must see’ there are plenty of places one can go to get a fix.

  2. I found that TV was beginning to eat into my time spent masturbating to internet porn. I jettisoned the telly and hey presto, more time for wanking.

  3. Since my teens I’ve watched somewhere around 20 minutes of TV a week. I hate the feeling of watching a movie and then realising that most of the evening is gone. I really prefer to spend my time reading and writing.

  4. RBH: Makes a nice ant-farm, apparently…

    Marcus: I like a man with his priorities straight (as well as his other bits).

    Martin: Yes, but WHICH 20 minutes, I wonder..?

    Charlotte: Yes, the odd film also slips by me. But mostly its just Family Guy.

    Earthpal: Irony is the sandwich of the gods, as my old teacher used to say.

  5. We own a TV but it isn’t hooked up to any broadcast networks – we just use it to watch DVDs and videos. Netflix is our TV now, which means that we can watch a 22-week season of a TV show in a couple of weeks without any commercial breaks to spoil the fun.

  6. Really agree with you on this, leaves time for the important stuff, hanging out at the pub, reading, talking with friends etc.

    Haven’t been a tv watcher for about ten years, sometimes I’ll grab the news in the bar or the odd film at someones house. Someone gave me an old own of theirs as a present about 2 years ago, ended up giving it away to someone after about 6 months after never having plugged it in.

    Something I would be interested in (and this is general, not just because of absence of tv), where do you go for info? What are the newspapers like there?

  7. “30 minutes in front of the box always left me as drained as if I had just consumed an entire Swedish pizza.”

    Hmmm. Now I’m curious about these spooky “Swedish pizzas”. That just sounds like a culinary horror story of frankensteinian proportions. One of my grandmothers was Minnesota Swede and she had this annoying habit of pronouncing “pizza” like “pee-zah”, as in the Tower of Pisa. So I must ask you: Can Swedish pizza be really as horrendous (and tiring) as my dear misguided farmor‘s pronunciation of it?

  8. Paddy, I got rid of my TV a few years ago and I haven’t missed it at all. Of course, now I’m completely cheesed off about advertising. When I do see adverts it seems they’re just screaming, ‘BUYBUYBUYBUY!!!’ which they are, but you become inured to it when it’s in your house every day.

    I get my news from BBCnews–it’s my homepage on my computer.

  9. Mr Glancetts: Yes, much better!

    Diarmuid: Who needs a paper when absolutely everything is on-line these days? I check the Guardian, the BBC, CNN, the Irish Times, Indymedia, Sydney Morning Herald, the Swedish Dailies… Plus those horrible free “newspapers” they give out on the trains. No shortage of News on the Internet!

  10. Glen Gordon: My 8-year old informs me that it is indeed “Pee-zah”. So now you know. I have written a few blogs on this topic – just search for “Pizza” in the little search box thingy.

    Alex Foster: I agree – ads are definitely more annoying and visible when you don’t see so many. And I am very happy to get rid of the box. Life is long and boring again!

  11. My fucking tv started working again – and like the addict I am, I find myself spendings hours in front of it..
    Right now im gathering the willpower needed to get rid of it permanently. :)

  12. Sorry, it will always be Pete-sah to me. Without the “t” in pizza, it just isn’t as tasty. And as for the boob tube, I’ve given it up for internet TV. In fact, I’m currently watching what the communists are doing on CCTV. Much more entertaining than HBO, I must say.

  13. Yeah, I get the news off the net, but what’s annoying is the quality in general. Especially here, (printed and tv), ye have a tv station here that boasts that the elect the president, what’s worse, it’s largely true

  14. I disconnected my NTL cable several months ago when they decided to charge non-direct-debit customers an extra 2 euro for the privilege of paying them. That really got my Irish up, so I told them to fuck off. Ever since I have been getting increasingly hysterical letters asking me about service and is there any way they can improve our relationship and am I sure I don’t need them etc? I have taken to sending the letters back unopened with little messages like “Not interested” “I’ve Got a Life” “No Longer a Zombie” etc JOIN THE REBELLION! FREE YOUR MIND!

  15. OR Melling: Well I have freed my mind, only to enslave it once again playing Scrabble on Facebook. Still, at least they aren’t trying to sell me anything. Except for Scrabble, of course…

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