• Bill Chastain


Reluctantly, I’ll admit, I’m hooked on TV.

You could say I’m a little like the storied Chance from Being There — I like to watch.

Granted, I would like to be more productive in my spare time. But spare time is also for relaxation and enjoyment, for which TV is an outlet.TV

When I walk in the house, I turn on the TV. When I’m reading a book, the TV is on. If I’m working on the computer, the TV must be going.

Cable is the culprit.

Remember the old days of regular television? When you watched a game there was a feeling like you were watching an event.

You knew NBC’s Game of the Week would come on Saturday afternoon at 2. NFL games would come on Sunday afternoon at 1.

Same thing for your favorite shows. You knew what time that show came on and you were camped in front of the TV once it began.

There weren’t as many choices and you didn’t have TiVO, so you had a sense of necessity about watching the games or shows when they aired. You had no other options.

Cable TV crept inside the Tampa city limits during the early 1980s, signaling the end of TV as I had known it. My addiction grew, spiraling out of control from regular TV to cable, making me one with the remote.

I’ve thought about attaching Velcro to the flicker, so I could attach it to my clothes, preventing me from misplacing it or having it fall between the cushions. With flicker in hand, I’m the conductor of my own entertainment orchestra as I mindlessly roll around the hundreds of odd channels.

ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U, Fox Sports, NFL Network, SEC Network with time out in between for old movies like The Magnificent Seven or Gunga Din. Maybe catch an episode of Law and Order — just the old ones with Lenny. On rare occasions, harmony comes and you find yourself in a zone. You balance two baseball games without missing a pitch while mixing in bits and pieces from The Dirty Dozen and Animal House, perhaps a few Jeopardy! questions.

Evidence of my addiction usually comes when somebody asks me what I watched and I can’t remember a thing.

My cry for help is forthcoming, just let me get through this episode of M*A*S*H.


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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography