Re­sist­ing an ad­dic­tion: Cut­ting ca­ble has ben­e­fits

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - OPINION - Lynch Pen LEO LYNCH For­mer JP, Ben­ton County

This will not go down in his­tory as an earth chang­ing event. In fact, few peo­ple will know and the ma­jor­ity of the world could care less. But, at our house and in the pur­suit of some de­gree of san­ity, we “cut the (TV) ca­ble”!

The stuff la­belled as “must see tele­vi­sion” was not re­ally as im­por­tant as the pro­gram sug­gested and the true ben­e­fits from cut­ting the ca­ble con­tinue to im­prove our san­ity, our pri­or­i­ties and our util­ity bills.

Giv­ing up cig­a­rettes or some per­sonal ad­dic­tion is never easy. Prob­a­bly the fear of with­drawal from any­thing that has be­come a habit keeps us hes­i­tant to act on change.

At our house we found the tele­vi­sion set was on too much of the time with no one even in the room. Hav­ing it on how­ever, elim­i­nated the “sound of si­lence” that we as­so­ciate with lone­li­ness. Check­ing the weather chan­nel for an up­date ev­ery 30 min­utes had be­come a habit that started first thing in the morn­ing and ac­tu­ally the fore­cast re­ally never changed sig­nif­i­cantly dur­ing the day. We also dis­cov­ered that we were fre­quently hav­ing cof­fee in front of the non­stop tele­vi­sion set, rather than dis­cussing some­thing mean­ing­ful at the kitchen ta­ble. To our sur­prise this had ac­tu­ally be­come a part of the daily rou­tine.

How many times dur­ing the day do you need or even want to hear about Don­ald Trump’s tweets? It turned out for us the an­swer was “zero” but if the news was on, the news im­poses on you the lat­est Trump Gospel even if you didn’t care. Would you be­lieve the shock to our life­style when there were sud­denly not just ex­tra free min­utes, but over the pe­riod of a week hours of time avail­able for mean­ing­ful ac­tiv­i­ties — time to read books, use the com­puter to re­search fam­ily ge­neal­ogy and com­mu­ni­cate with friends over the back fence. Not re­ally the back fence, but I think you know what I mean. It’s the com­mu­ni­ca­tion, not the lo­ca­tion that im­proved.

Of course, the ca­ble com­pany said they “hated to lose us.” The truth be told, our monthly con­tri­bu­tion to their bot­tom line was re­ally what they missed. When we started talk­ing about mak­ing this ma­jor change in our life­style, our house­hold found oth­ers have sur­vived the shock of such a dras­tic change and they of­fered numer­ous ways to have most of the ca­ble ben­e­fits with a more mod­est ex­pense. Hav­ing a po­ten­tial crutch if we couldn’t adapt to the loss of this source of en­ter­tain­ment was an out­let that we never pur­sued when we found our­selves with so many mean­ing­ful out­lets for our time.

Find­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate an­tenna for use in the at­tic was a trial and er­ror event.

Just mak­ing sure the old guy didn’t fall through the ceil­ing was a chal­lenge greater than the loss of the ESPN foot­ball games. This might be more for the younger set or pro­fes­sion­als if one puts it off too long. Re­ally this proved to be more er­ror than we wanted to ad­mit, since the first an­tenna was elec­tron­i­cally de­fec­tive (poor cir­cuit work). A de­fec­tive Chi­nese chip re­sulted in much of the trial of my ag­ing pa­tience as well as need­less frus­tra­tion con­cern­ing proper wiring, etc.

As part of the true con­fes­sion, the big­gest tele­vi­sion ad­dic­tion was my love of foot­ball — col­lege foot­ball, pro­fes­sional foot­ball, high school or Cana­dian foot­ball. The things that at­tract me are not al­ways of in­ter­est to oth­ers. The long pass com­ple­tions and daz­zling runs are spec­tac­u­lar. How­ever, I en­joy see­ing a penalty be­fore the an­nounc­ers, or try­ing to sec­ond guess the coaches. For me the game is about per­son­nel man­age­ment, de­tails of the pass pat­terns, and the at­ti­tude of the coaches. Break­ing the ESPN habit was a ma­jor per­sonal ac­com­plish­ment. A chal­lenge met and a chal­lenge con­quered.

As a post script, the an­tenna has its lim­i­ta­tions. We get only a few sta­tions which is prob­a­bly a ben­e­fit or at least a good thing. We may need to get a larger out­door an­tenna at some time in the fu­ture, but for now we bask in our ac­com­plish­ment of learn­ing a lit­tle bit about self de­nial and hav­ing the sat­is­fac­tion that with 30 smoke­less years be­hind me, we now are free from an­other “ad­dic­tion.”

PTL!

•••

Ed­i­tor’s note: Leo Lynch, an award-win­ning colum­nist, is a na­tive of Ben­ton County and has deep roots in north­west Arkansas. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor. He is a re­tired in­dus­trial en­gi­neer and for­mer Jus­tice of the Peace.

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