“And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” — Matthew 5:30, King James Bible
To be honest, I only know this quote because of a 1976 episode of Little House on the Prairie. Pa Ingalls and the girls are on a camping trip, but Ma stays home. She cuts herself and the scratch develops into a major infection. In a blind fever, she refers to this passage from the Bible and cuts away at the infection to save herself.
I talk about them as if they are old friends — Ma and Pa Ingalls, Laura and Mary. As if I am somehow related to them and their stories. In a way, I am. Television has been my lifelong companion.
My mothers tells the story of how, when I was a baby, she would set me in a swing in front of the TV with a cookie so I could watch Mister Rogers. THAT explains a whole host of things, not the least of which is Television as Soother.
Although I can’t really say I actually “watch” TV. These days, I’m more of a channel surfer — the fast blur of color and sound lulls me into my quiet and safe place. Not meditative, but not frenetically trying to solve the universe’s problems either. I just zone out — for hours.
Hours and hours. And hours.
An article in Self magazine reported that “people who tuned in (to television) for two or more hours daily had weaker ab and back muscles (by up to 10 percent) than those who viewed less than two hours, regardless of their overall activity level.”* THAT explains a whole host of OTHER things!
I understand the physical ramifications of this little media addiction, but there are others.
We can gloss right over my dwindled attention span, which I bet you could time at the interval of show vs. commercial. There have been studies that show this consequence as well.
What concerns me most, however, is what I watch. Every night, I prepare a nice meal for myself, find a comfortable spot on the sofa, turn on the TV and select from my line-up of favorites: Criminal Minds, Law and Order, CSI, NCIS. Essentially eating my dinner while watching serial killers, murderers and rapists.
If it is not violent drama, then it’s the mindless drivel of reality television or the entertainmentized facsimiles of “news” and “weather.” All of which pose as important, relevant, and of some consequence — all of which they are not.
I have said for years that I must curb my television watching. I have deleted channels from the remote control, dropped back on my cable service, attempted to leave the television off all together. But like any good and well-bred addict, I go back again. And again.
So, here it is. THIS IS THE DAY. The day I cancel cable. Cutting it from me to save myself – my abs, my attention span and and my self-respect. If it offend thee, cast it from thee.
• • •
*”4 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Fighting Ab Flab” By Lucy Danziger, SELF Magazine.