Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Confessions of a T.V. Addict

My name is March H. and I'm addicted to T.V.

I decided to confess my addiction after reading Michael Medved's latest column on Townhall, "Beating Back the T.V. Takeover," followed by Michelle Malkin's column in the same forum, decrying the lack of appropriate role models for young girls, and The Anchoress, who discussed her family's viewing habits. Or lack thereof.

I am the first T.V. generation--I don't remember life without T.V., although it was in black-and-white, and limited to three network stations, one local station, and PBS. On non-school mornings, I sat in front of the television (Captain Kangaroo, Romper Room, Miss Frances and Ding-Dong School) and again in the afternoon (Captain Satellite, Skipper (later Sir) Sedley, What's New?, The Charlie and Humphrey Hour, Marshall J). When Dad came home, the T.V. stayed on, but what we watched depended on him. If we didn't like it, we were free to leave the room and find something else to do. Like read. And since the T.V. was seldom off, we learned to read while the T.V. was on, a talent which surprised Hubs when he first met me. Unfortunately, sometimes I miss the fact the commercial is over and miss part of the action. So I have to ask what is going on.

"Either read or watch," he said, early in our marriage. Now he just answers my questions.

By the way, that's probably the worst part of needing bifocals. If I take off my glasses to read, I can't see the T.V. screen. If I leave my glasses on to watch T.V., I can't read.

Of course, it doesn't help that Hubs' job is intimately connected with television. If he's home, the T.V. is on so he can "monitor" it.

Although we have four sets, television viewing seems to be a group activity in our family. I sneak up to my room to read or watch T.V. in peace, only to be joined by the rest of the family within twenty minutes.

When the children were younger I used to put on a Disney video and nap "with one ear open", waking when I heard the distinctive tune at the end. Now that the "children" aren't really any more, my concern has shifted from what they watch to how late they stay up, especially on school nights. I do try to keep the T.V. off during the morning rush since it tends to distract everyone as we're trying to get out of the house.

As for the influence of commercials--well, let's just say we had an eye-opening experience with a Christmas present for Hubs where the reality of the product was quite a comedown from "as seen on T.V."

So, I'm not ready to pull the plug completely. I am, however, not very eager to plug them in further. I fought long and hard against GameBoys and portable CD players. None of our cars has a VHS or a DVD player or separate CD channels. Electronics are banned on Scout outings (Boy Scout and Girl Scout), which means DS#2 and DD#2 are unplugged at least one weekend a month.

Besides, if I record my favorite shows, I can skip over the commercials and save about 20 minutes.