Giving up my television addiction was much harder than I thought, particularly in these pandemic times when there is not much else to do.
The psychiatrist I went to was of no help. In a failed attempt to help me see the error of my ways and the possible damage to my psyche, she asked, “Do you realize that modern television is a vast wasteland of sex, violence, foul language, immorality, and sheer stupidity?”
“Yes. What’s your point?” I replied.
But with the help of my new friends at TAA (Television Addicts Anonymous), I am determined to loosen the stranglehold of television.
The first few days of my withdrawal, I still sat in front of the blank screen, my mouth agape and my eyes fixed in a vacant stare. I gradually roused myself from my stupor, blinking in wonderment, to find that a strangely unfamiliar person was sitting beside me on the couch.
“Pardon me,” I said, “but have we been properly introduced?”
“Of course,” he said. “I am your spouse.”
“Oh, yes,” I responded, “the person who has monopolized the remote control for several decades. ”
To fill the yawning gap of emptiness that used to be occupied by the television’s voice (“Yes, George, you ARE the baby’s father!”), the spouse and I spent a few days getting reacquainted. However, we soon exhausted our repertoire of scintillating conversation and witty repartee. We were reduced to comments like, “Would you look at that? The bunion on my big toe has a topography not unlike that of the Isle of Capri.”
How I yearned to go back to the carefree and innocent days of my youth before I became entangled in television’s treacherous tentacles. I remember when I used to indulge in more wholesome endeavors like reading.
Aha! I shall attempt to recapture that sweet innocence by rereading some of the childhood classics that I loved in my youth.
I hurried home from the library clutching a volume of favorite nursery rhymes, which I anticipated reading through new eyes. Not literally, of course. If anybody asks, I know nothing about that alleged break-in at the Eye Institute.
When I began to read, I was shocked. How had I missed it? Nursery rhymes are loaded with sex, violence, and assorted examples of societal ills.
Take, for example, that old lullaby Rock-A-Bye-Baby. What kind of a sick human being would threaten to place said infant high in the branches of a tree and then lull it to sleep with a reminder that if the wind should blow, he will plummet to earth like a squirrel who had just stepped onto an electric transformer? Is this conducive to restful slumber? Perhaps the persistent repetition of this rhyme during our youth is the cause of that jerking reflex we have all felt just as we are drifting into sleep. We might be about to tumble out of a tree.
How about this nursery rhyme? “Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry.” This is an obvious case of sexual harassment. He should keep his kisses to himself. However, I will gladly accept his offering of pudding and pie. He just shouldn’t expect any quid pro quo.
“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe; she had so many children, she didn’t know what to do. She gave them some broth without any bread. She whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed.” This is clearly an example of some of the saddest realities of life: homelessness, a lack of accessible birth control, hunger, poverty, and possible child abuse.
The book of nursery rhymes was starting to depress me even more than the sorry state of television programming.
“Three blind mice, three blind mice; see how they run; see how they run. They all ran after the farmer’s wife; she cut off their tails with a carving knife. Did you ever see such a sight in your life as three blind mice?” Obviously a gruesome tale of abuse of disabled animals and attempted murder.
“Run-A-Dub Dub, three men in a tub” is sexual innuendo on a par with reruns of that old sit-com “Three’s Company.”
” Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town; upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown. Rapping on the windows, crying through the locks. Are all the children in their beds, for now it’s eight o’clock?” These are clear examples of indecent exposure, voyeurism, and possible pedophilia. Anything I might say about Wee Willie Winkie’s name should probably be left unsaid, but I’m sure you get my drift.
These nursery rhymes are way too depressing and perverted for my tastes. Perhaps television is not so bad after all. Hey, you on the couch! Spouse! What did you say your name was? Toss me that television schedule.
Hmm, today’s topic on this reality show is, “Mother Goose…harmless barnyard storyteller or perverted porn peddler?”
Do they list a call-in number?