I remember my mother telling me to turn off the television and go outside for some fresh air.
I have friends my age whose parents told them too much television would “stunt their growth.”
In the fifties, television became known as the “idiot box,” suggesting that watching television was of no educational value and would reduce one’s capacity to think.
And we only had three channels. Seriously.
Now we have more channels than I can name. We have televisions in several rooms of our homes, TV programs accessible on our computers and smart phones, and restaurants with multiple screens so we don’t miss anything. Even my camper had a big screen TV.
And we pay for it. Dearly.
I’m not talking about money here. Actually, I don’t have cable so whatever my antennae picks up is what I have. It’s more than I had growing up. And more than I need.
Don’t misunderstand. I watch my fair share of television. I like it. I’m not addicted to any particular program. I like a variety of shows and movies. I generally check in to learn what the weather holds. When I ride the stationary bike, I flip through channels to see what the set in my basement will pick up to keep me entertained while I exercise.
When I say we pay dearly for the excess of television, I am speaking to the way we can get “sucked in” to news and programs that highlight evil and dysfunction.
Moreover, for me anyway, television has, of late, been about as entertaining as a root canal.
We are experiencing an overload of the “new normal.” Even the commercials are so focused on selling masks, washing our hands, and showing how you can order your food online, I find them depressing reminders there is only “new” and no “normal.”
And as if we needed something else to drive us crazy, we are entering that season of a political pandemic when the normal ugliness of an election year is heightened to grotesque.
So what’s a girl to do? Turn off the television.
I’m not kidding. I urge you to join me.
· Limit how much COVID-19 news you watch.
· Don’t watch before bedtime.
· When you do watch television, balance the bad with something light and fun.
· And in keeping with my mama’s advice, swap some of your TV time for a little fresh air.