Off with TV

April 7, 2010. My hairdresser told me that it’s been a long time since he sat down and got lost in a book. He ensued with an apology for not being a reader, knowing he was speaking to a writer.

I understand, I said. It’s so easy to turn on the TV and sink in.

“Yes,” he said, “I watch too much TV.”

Now, I wasn’t one for watching TV. Yet I truly understood because at one extra stressful stretch, I myself preferred to turn on the television. It started with half hour shows just for a little break, and digressed to seeking hour-long shows, and then trying to find movies.

O the shows and movies were there, yet I had to sift through shoddy programming in seeking substance. Don’t get me wrong, there are good shows out there among the bunk. Some shows are even top quality. Yet staring habitually into the blue light of a TV screen makes a lousy addiction.

I know, because I got sucked in, one stressful stint. I elected to turn on the TV rather than refer to my usual crosswords or books.

One night, when I settled for some ver-ly mediocre programming because it was the least shallow of the present selections — just so I didn’t have to turn off the TV — I realized I’d gone too far, and it was time to cross back.

I returned to my habit of reading, and returned to craving books (and crossword puzzles). I turned on music, instead of the TV, when doing household and office tasks, and thought how radio days were better days. One could get things done, while listening to the radio. They could even read.

“You should try finding a book you’d like,” I said to my hairdresser, “It’s better for the brain.”

“You’re right,” he agreed.  And we moved on to another subject.

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