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Turning off the idiot box

For the eighteen-and-a-half years I have lived on this planet, I have never truly considered myself to be a full-blown television addict. I never envisioned myself as having an addictive personality, either. Although these personal beliefs remain 100% true in my mind, I will acknowledge I have spent a good (or rather, bad) quantity of my time in front of a television screen.

Upon thinking about the years which I spent glued to a glass screen, having my glazed-over eyeballs constantly bombarded with salvo after salvo of charged particles emitted from a cathode ray tube gun, I cringe with a nauseating sense of revulsion. To think that, on any given day of my life, I spent around 1 to 2 hours a day watching regular programming on the idiot box makes me want to pull a David Letterman and go push some big screen TVs off of a New York City skyscraper (yes, they used to hurl television units off of buildings on Letterman’s show).

I say this because, being a full-time student here, I now have much better things to do than sit around and be a TV slave all day; I couldn’t be happier about this.

Seeing as how there is a total plenitude of unique and interesting pursuits for one to engage in at the University, such as mentally-stimulating and informative classes, extracurricular activities, clubs and organizations, intramural sports, and just about any arbitrary wacko-organization one can think of (BG Undead, in particular – I loved it), I now have a number of reasons to head outdoors or to visit another building on campus instead of frying my brain on reality TV in my uber-cramped dorm room. I truly cannot explain how relieved I feel now that so many more options are available to not only myself, but the entire student body as well.

Don’t get me wrong; I still watch television. However, this happens less often, and in smaller chunks; I probably only view an hour of TV in a week. As I’ve stated before, college (based on my initial observations) is the ideal time to break old habits and addictions, and my case is no exclusion to this concept. Seriously, when I think of all the time I’ve spent isolated in my basement room back at my home watching television on a 13 inch unit (and with the help of my MacBook’s dashboard calculator), I can come to this conclusion: At 2 hours a day for 2.5 months of this summer, I spent 150 hours watching TV. Ouch. Facts such as this make me realize how short life is (and how easy it is to lose track of time whilst watching “CSI” or “Star Trek”).

In all reality, though, what makes watching television so appealing? Compared to other entertainment mediums, such as books, Internet surfing, poetry and songwriting, fine art, music and video games, TV is overtly and obviously completely passive, requiring absolutely no input from the viewer. Even video games, being the time-wasters they are, require at least some kind of user input; proof that even something as time-consuming as games are more stimulating than a wholly passive media form. Aside from deciding which channel to watch, there isn’t really a whole lot to deliberate upon when watching television.

But don’t go thinking I hate television, video games and all sorts of other things for someone to do in his or her free time. Oh no. What I’m saying is the concept of sensible moderation needs to be applied in respect to these activities; watching TV for five hours every day is not a good way to practice sensible balance in that particular activity.

So, primarily, reasonableness in time spent on an activity, as well as a good sense of moderation in all things is the way to go. It worked wonders on me for cutting down on my daily allotment of personal television time (including other random time-wasters), and I feel all the more relieved, refreshed, invigorated, and mentally awake than before.

“Dosage alone determines poisoning.” This is a quote often stated by one of my professors,?? which I can apply directly to the topic about which I am writing. It’s the same as the concept of good moderation: too much of anything is a bad thing. One drop of dish soap to your stomach will not kill you; a gallon of it will (please don’t go drink any of this stuff; I’m not writing literally!). Apply the same rule to your free-time activities. Personally, I’m glad to be free from the clutches of television; it’s a great feeling of liberation and relief. With all the things (and assignments) to do at college, I’ve got better stuff to do.

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