TV: Rotting my brain or saving it?

I know people who don’t bother with TV. They don’t have cable and barely have a TV that works at all. They spend their time doing more useful things, like reading or hobbies. If they do watch TV, it’s all PBS or nature programs or The History Channel. (Sometimes, though, that backfires. My one sister, who has only bare-bones TV [no cable, one-channel reception], is INSTANTLY mesmerized whenever she encounters “real” TV. Deer in the headlights, unable to tear herself away, no matter what’s on. It’s priceless. My other sister and I have a field day with it: Assume the position — tilted head, glassy-eyed stare….)

Make no mistake: I really admire people who can do without TV. I think about how much more I could accomplish if my eyes weren’t glued to the boob tube every night. I might actually read a book once in a while, keep the house clean, cook a week’s worth of dinners in advance, take up a new craft or hobby. Instead…I look forward to 7:30 or 8:00 PM when I get to turn off my mind and turn on the tube (yeah, I know it doesn’t have tubes anymore).

I especially look forward to the nights my favorites are on. Please don’t call me on Monday nights during The Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men. Get lost during Lost on Wednesdays. Heaven help you if you interrupt The Office on Thursdays. Sunday nights are all about Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. And please don’t try to talk to me while they’re on (I’m not ignoring you honey, but it’s kind of important to listen to what the characters are saying…).

Why? One, I like to laugh, and nothing makes me laugh more than BBT, TAAHM, or The Office. Two, escape. Lost is just ridiculous enough to be engaging, and the amount of detail and obscure references that go into it is quite amazing. Three, as I told Mike last night during Brothers & Sisters, it’s all about perspective: “See what problems we’d have if you were running for governor and I had written a best-seller?” Whew, thank goodness that’s never gonna happen.

Mostly, though, I think it’s number four: I need someone else to do the thinking for awhile. I need to marvel at the storylines, jokes, and dialog some other, more talented hack for hire came up with. I need to forget my days are spent writing about that which I have only the most cursory knowledge or interest: like today’s topic: Economic Capital (EC), and today’s task: turning “bullet points” like this into a clear and engaging story: Assist in devleoping complete EC pilot process, including scenario generators, process for determining appropriate stress for each risk, interfaces between components, and correlation matrix; and Design and construct aggregator to combine liability results for various market shocks in to a single EC result using the correlation matrix.

Most days, it’s all I can do to clean up the dinner dishes before collapsing on the couch. (Did I mention we eat in front of the TV every night?) And no, I don’t have kids to take care of, a 5:00 AM wake-up time, a long commute, or office politics to deal with like many of you do. I’ve been exercising regularly, so “boosting my energy” hasn’t helped (though I’m getting hooked on having a cuppa joe around 3:00 PM every day, sometimes caffeinated). By prime time, I’m ready and willing to zone out.

Sure the winter and seemingly perpetual darkness play a role (dinner, and TV, are later in the summer). So does the omnipresent, staring-us-in-the-face fact that we should both be spending our nights working on one of the numerous this old house projects we have in the works. But we’re no spring chickens. We’re not that obsessed. And we have company like once every two or three months, so nobody sees our messes but us.

And, ya know, I just like to watch TV. I love falling asleep to it every night. I love turning on The Weather Channel first thing to see what the day has in store. I love that it’s always there to keep me company, should I get sick of being alone all day. I love living vicariously on HGTV.

Am I rotting my brain? Maybe. Probably. But I’m saving it too…letting it rest and recuperate so I can face another day of: Design inital output reports and analyses from projection models and aggregator, including treatment of diversification benefits, calculation of Risk-Adjusted Return On Capital (RAROC), and roll-forward attribution analysis.

I love TV.

I could have been a doctor, but there were too many good shows on TV. 
                                                                        ~ Jason Love


  1. Robin said,

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Last night my husband called me the ultimate couch potato. I was watching “The Bachelor” AND reading the show’s message boards online. I’m so ashamed that we (I) don’t watch more thought-provoking programming. Does Mike Rowe and “Dirty Jobs” count as thought-provoking?

    My name is Robin K and I am a tv-aholic and reality show junky. I need help!

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Hi Robin (says the group).
    I’m sure there are 12 steps to break our habit. Step 1: Pull the plug. (That probably needs to Step 12 — work up to it…) Step 1: Downgrade to basic cable? (Shades of childhood — channels 2,4,11,13, and 22 and 53 “UHF” — although we lived on top of a hill and could also get channel 6 in Johnstown pretty well…and sometimes channel 10 — Steubenville or somewhere?)

  3. Robin said,

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Darker shades of my childhood – aluminum foil attached to the rabbit ears, and I believe we received the same channels you did – depending on the weather. Hmmm, would foil work now that digital is here (well, might be here in June).

  4. robbie said,

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    The mind does need rest! And what better way to give it a dose of nothing than to watch TV. I gave up trying to read anything longer than a newspaper or magazine article years ago simply because I’d fall asleep trying. I love the mindlessness of TV. After work I don’t even enjoy programs you need to think about or follow the plot. Just give me The Amazing Race!

  5. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Who wasn’t crying after that Amazing Race episode — the deaf son and mother who came in first! And all of them having to do that crazy-scary bungee jump? (I felt sorry for the blonde stewardess.) And then having to haul that cheese! Mike and I wouldn’t make it to the first checkpoint, and we’d be the couple fighting the whole time.

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