Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Are We Losing It?

Look at the wall. Do you see that? Do you see that thing hanging there? That is your brain.

How's it looking today? Shriveled? Lively? Needing some exercise?

Sudoku and brain games are all over the place these days. What is your brain age? In a society where we are so eager for entertainment that helps to turn off our brains, isn't it ironic that we would be so concerned about getting those little gray cells in shape?

The Tube. I'm talking about that big old, 55" thing hanging on the wall. Do you see that? Do you see that thing hanging there? That is your brain.

James is a TV hater! James hates television!

When you come home, you turn on the TV and go take a shower. The living room couch enjoys the late afternoon filler shows. The poor couch has been lonely without it's soap operas and gossip gabfests.

James hates soap operas! Gossip gabfest hater!

After your shower, you get a bowl of ice cream. It is chocolate mint. It is your favorite. You only put in three scoops because you noticed your profile in the mirror.


Ah, it is good to be home. You have spent all day dealing with people you don't like. You deserve some time to unwind. Life is hard, and you should know, you live life everyday. You get up and have a bowl of Fruit Loops and go to work and pretend to be happy and then you come home and are too exhausted to do anything but watch TV.

You know. You know that life is hard.

The ice cream helps.

On the TV, someone is cheating on someone and there is a goldfish involved. On another channel, someone is getting a new house because the sewer backed up and they didn't have money to fix it and they cried a lot and you noticed that they were wearing designer jeans and your daughter wanted a pair of those but you said no because they cost $139.99 and that's just outrageous.

Designer jeans Nazi!

Your favorite show is on tonight. It comes on at nine. It is five-thirty. What are you going to do until then?

Maybe you will take a nap. Life is hard.

The ice cream is good. You almost get some more, but remember your profile in the mirror. You resist. Your spouse will be happy about that. Once upon a time, you were as thin as the person on the TV. That person on the TV can't be real. They must have used special effects or something. People aren't really that good-looking.

There are over 300 channels on your TV. Aren't you something? Not everybody has 300 channels and a 55" TV, and can sit on their microfiber couch and eat chocolate mint ice cream. But you can. Because you know. You know that life is hard. And you get up every day and go to work and you deserve this time. You deserve it. Oh yeah. Totally.

Zealot! Hater! Hypocrite!

Okay. So I watch the thing too. I don't have cable or satellite, but most evenings my wife and I sit down and enjoy a movie or a TV show on DVD. It's relaxing. It's usually enjoyable. I look forward to it.

Why the rag on TV?

Here's the thing. TV has become our go-to for entertainment. It has also become the most-hired babysister in America. This is cause for concern. Have you looked at some of the cartoons kids are watching? Oh boy. They are mindless, gross, rude, negative. If this is what our children are going to become, then Houston, we have a serious problem.

I mean, look. This is the dude who is baby-sitting your kids. Would you trust this guy with your cat, much less your offspring?

I have two kids of my own. We limit their TV time. Some people would say we are teaching them that TV is evil. They get to watch about three or four hours worth of TV a week.

TV Hater! Fun Hater!

Yesterday, my three-year-old son spent about four hours playing with Legos. Most of the time by himself. His imagination was soaring.


How much imagination does it take to watch TV?

Imagination is beautiful. It changes the world. It brings us art, it brings us new inventions, it builds bridges, it makes us believe in fantasy.

I don't want to lose that. I don't want my kids to lose that.

See the world in ten years. See the world without imagination. Do you see it? Do you see it hanging there on the wall? Deflated, flat, colorless, dull, meaningless.

Today, use your imagination. Don't turn on the TV. Draw a picture. Read a book. Play a board game. Run through the house with your kids. Hide from dinosaurs. Be who you wish you were.

Imagine that.

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