TV and I have a love/hate relationship. If I sit down on a Saturday afternoon to watch a few hours of worthless TV, then it’s kind of like eating a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting–momentary satisfaction that turns into a slight case of nausea just prior to more serious regrets due to a feeling of being bloated, lazy, and lacking in self-control.
On the other hand, with Tivo or some such digital recording contraption, TV becomes a joy with no regrets as I watch only what is truly stimulating while being able to skip commercials at the same time. I’m a fan of shows like Nova, Nature, and just about anything on the History Channel. Anything else feels like a waste of time to me. That’s probably part of the reason why, when our TV that we had temporarily left in our rented-out townhouse was stolen by our renters who were later arrested by the Department of Homeland Security (another story in and of itself), we didn’t replace it and haven’t missed it.
I grew up in what I would call a moderately strict household. My parents weren’t unreasonably strict, but they weren’t about to let us kids do whatever we wanted to do either. One rule we had was that we could only watch TV on weekends, and even on weekends it was only allowed when my parents said it was allowed.
Now if my parents had appealed to my sense of right and wrong and honesty, I probably would have watched less TV as a teenager, done better in school, and have learned some moral lessons. Instead, my parents enforced the no-TV-during-the-week-rule by putting a small lock through the hold in the plug to the TV, effectively making it impossible to plug in the TV, unless you knew where the key was. I believe it took me all of a half hour to figure out where the key was, and so during the week if my parents ever left me home alone the TV immediately turned on. It took some doing when I heard a parent’s car pulling into the driveway to to jump up, put the lock in the plug, and act natural by the time the parent walked in, but I pulled it off successfully for years, much to my personal detriment now that I consider how much time I wasted on TV.
When I was in college I met a girl and in the course of casual conversation she told me how her family hadn’t owned a TV while she was growing up. I was stunned. No TV? I assumed her family was one of those that ground their own wheat, didn’t eat sugar, and perhaps, on moral grounds, was opposed to the use of buttons on clothing. But no, her family was what most people would consider normal in every other way, they simply didn’t own a TV. She also proceeded to tell me that she had never missed it. Well, I was impressed, and decided maybe not having a TV wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
And so, during the seven years I’ve been married, my wife and I have done without a TV for most of that time. That is, we’ve often had a TV hooked up to a VCR or DVD player, but we haven’t had cable or TV channels.
What is interesting to me is that when we have had TV channels, I’ve often thought “I don’t know how I could do without TV, I’d feel completely lost.” But once it’s gone, it takes about two days and suddenly I don’t miss it anymore. The withdrawals are really not that bad.
What’s this have to do with entrepreneurship? I suspect a large part of why I haven’t missed TV is because of owning a business. I simply don’t have time to watch TV, nor can I imagine taking the time for TV even if I had the time. I’ve never seen an episode of 24, which many have told me is quite a good show, but the thought of watching all the seasons (because if I watch one episode I know I’ll have to watch all of them) seems like a colossal waste of time, no matter how good the show. I mean, I assume there are 50+ hours of that show now. That’s 2-3 days worth of work I could get done!
When someone loans a DVD to me and my wife it takes us a month or two to watch it. I think we’ve averaged one theater movie per year that we’ve been married. Do we miss those things? Not much, if at all.Liked it? Share it!