My Love Affair with TV

My Love Affair with TV

Few things give Big Daddy Graham as much joy as having his television remote control in hand.

It’s Thanksgiving time and so I’ve been thinking a lot about what I have in my life to be grateful for. With all the time I have spent in the hospital lately, you discover particular goodies that you really miss about your home. Your own bed and pillows, the chocolate milk in your fridge, your shower pressure, items you spend years acquiring and adjusting.
 
Like a couch. A sofa is useless if you can’t lie on it eating potato chips and watching TV. Which is why, when I’m shopping for a new couch, I literally lie on 10 of them to see how each one fits. I even bring the Wise potato chips.
 
But in the end, it’s my television that I miss most of all. I grew up with the worst types of TVs imaginable. And I’m not just talking about how few channels we had, although that in itself is hard to picture now that we can channel surf approximately 539 stations.
 
The first TV my family ever owned was a tabletop black-and-white Philco that we put on top of the floor model console that never worked to begin with. My old man kept it anyway so when friends came over it looked like we had two televisions. True story.
 
The Philco came with the obligatory rabbit ears and you literally had to point them in a certain direction in order to gain a better reception of the show (high-tech stuff like The Beverly Hillbillies) you were trying to watch. 
 
You would position the ears with your hands while everyone else in the family would scream at you, “Right there. That’s a great picture! No! No! Back it up. Now raise your foot above your shoulder. Jump up and down!”
 
But if your South Jersey home was in the path of an airplane landing at Philadelphia International Airport, you were totally screwed. You would be watching the climatic ending of Leave it to Beaver and all of a sudden Eddie Haskell’s head would start jumping or get all wavy.
 
We owned televisions that were so crappy they were held together with a knife and a fork. One beauty only worked when the channel changer was propped up with my brother’s high school yearbook. And when I bought my first top-loading, big-as-a-suitcase VCR, it came with a “wired” remote, which come to think of it wasn’t that bad. At least you never lost it.
 
Now let’s get back to those 539 channels. In the hospital you have about 12 channels and no music channels whatsoever. It’s like having only five shirts to choose from instead of 25. Ironically, I only wear five of the 25 shirts that I own but, I swear I will check out what is on all 539 channels routinely.
 
In fact, I will spend more time searching for what is on all those channels than I actually do watching an actual show. It’s endless hours of joy. I zoom like a speed demon, starting with NJTV, and ending with, well, I’m not quite sure what station it ends with because it never ends. To tell the truth, I don’t channel surf as much as I used to. If there’s a show that I have any interest in whatsoever I “season pass” it. The DVR is like a gateway drug for my TV addiction.
 
These days when I recline back on my BarcaLounger, I usually have three or four movies, the current Black-ish and The GoldbergsSaturday Night Live and three or four Seinfelds to choose from on my DVR. I absolutely never watch any of these shows live because then I would be forced to watch the annoying commercials. The DVR allows me to fast forward through all of them. Not only is my life free of the endless BS of ads, I’m also losing weight. Three-quarters of commercials are for food. Juicy burgers, mouthwatering pizzas and ice cold beers bombard my tummy like there’s no tomorrow. I saw a spot last night for “diet” Tic Tacs. Diet Tic Tacs, for crying out loud. Has anyone ever said to themselves, “I’m stuffed. I couldn’t eat one more Tic Tac for the life of me.”
 
Then add in Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and the lot, and you could drive yourself insane trying to find one stinking decent show to watch. And you still don’t!
 
Recently, some friends of mine from Cincinnati stayed with me for the weekend. At their home, they only have “basic” cable. We spent the entire Friday night channel surfing and we never watched a damn thing. And we had a ball. Our friends couldn’t get over the “voice command” on my remote. My wife and I shouted “CNN” and “Fox News” into it at the same time and the TV almost had a heart attack. 

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If the Sixers are on at 7 p.m., I record it and wait until 8 to watch it. So not only can I skip the commercials, I can zoom through all of the timeouts. But football? I always watch live. So, this Thanksgiving, while the turkey is in the oven, I’ll be glued to the TV.

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Published and copyrighted in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 17, Issue 8 (November 2020).

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Author: Big Daddy Graham

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