Tis Pity He's a Writer

Richard Daybell – Novels, stories and short humor

Skipping the Vast Wasteland (or Maybe Just the Half Vast)

People are shocked when we tell them we don’t have television. We have a television set, mind you – a great big one – but no television service. It’s a matter of choice, really. We had television service ten years ago – beamed in by satellite, before that by cable. We get no local service because the little electronic molecules that disassemble at the television studio then whiz through the air to reassemble in your home can’t navigate the hills of Vermont (neither can most New Yorkers).

We don’t stare at the walls during the evening, mumbling to ourselves. No, we stare at the big TV screen for a couple of hours each evening, imagining old programs we used to like. Well, that’s not really true; we’ve built a rather nice relationship with the good folks at Netflix, who regularly send us good things to watch. And we’ll buy things we like enough to own.

It sounds as if television programming has spiraled dramatically downward during our absence: Survival of the Fattest, Dancing with Stars, Donald Trump. The few good programs we’ve heard about – the Sopranos, West Wing, Boston Legal, Mad Men, a few Brit-coms – we watch on DVD, all without advertisements and other annoyances. And if we don’t want to wait a week for the next episode, we don’t have to.

But mostly we do movies. Except for the movies that must be seen on a big theater screen, we watch movies at home in comfy chairs with wine. And we’ve revisited some great movies that we haven’t seen in years and others that we missed or were before our time.

About the only downside of not having television service is that our knowledge of today’s pop culture seems to be getting weaker, having a negative effect on crossword puzzle prowess. My diminishing knowledge of pop culture and my growing older seem to be on a similar trajectory so that when I die I will know nothing, which is fitting.

Now and then I hope to share some of the more interesting movies we discover, and perhaps you’ll occasionally fill me in on what’s happening on Oprah.

9 comments on “Skipping the Vast Wasteland (or Maybe Just the Half Vast)

  1. Michael Sadowski
    February 20, 2012

    Oprah quit. You can easily do w/o updates on pop culture because it never changes: it’s still as sucky as was, only more so. I envy your isolation. Living w/o the constant, dispiriting drone of CNN must be pleasant. And remember: you’re taking this opnion from a guy who worked in the TV biz as a writer for 20 years.


  2. Kenton Lewis
    February 20, 2012

    Sometimes my wife and I will look at each other when a ‘star’ is introduced and say, “Who are they? What is their body of work?” It is often a sub-staring role in some sub-par meaningless piece of dribble.


  3. elroyjones
    February 20, 2012

    I’m looking forward to the reviews, don’t hold back!


  4. meremention
    February 20, 2012

    This sounds like the way to go; the only thing you’re missing is the local news. I’d love to do the Netflix thing once I get a new tv (and a Playstation? Sounds weird but I’m told you need it.) Great piece.


    • Richard Daybell
      February 21, 2012

      News is easy. Between Vermont Public Radio and the Town Dump we get all the news that’s fit to hear. And thank you.


  5. Craig Dunford
    February 21, 2012

    I get Phil Donohue from Netflix. Think about this: we find our entertainment here !!!
    ( ok ok , it’s better than TV ).


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This entry was posted on February 20, 2012 by in Life Is (Fill in Blank) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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