Television, the final frontier

Published 9:37 am Friday, October 18, 2013

When moving to Franklin, student loans were looming, the apartment rent was a little more steep than desired and, of course, there were other bills and many other expenses. The thought was that cable or satellite television was a luxury. One could live without that.

Besides, there was never anything good on television anyway. My boss, Tony Clark, thought that I would crack pretty quickly.

So far, so good is the report in this experiment. However, it’s not always easy — one has to be both creative and resourceful.

My girlfriend has cable, so leeching her information allows me to use the watchespn app, which gives me access to almost all of the college football games. Besides, it’s the clutch way to watch Ole Miss football, except when ESPN U picks the game up. No one I know has a leechable ESPN U. So then it’s time to break out the radio apps.

Unfortunately, for professional football, that app only extends to Monday Night Football, so for the first time in years, the NFL and my Saints are effectively out of reach most weeks. Sure, it gets most of the Canadian football games, but I’ve unfortunately no interest in Canadian football.

My Rangers are not in it when it comes to post-season baseball, so I don’t think I’m going to break when it comes to the World Series. Besides, I can get a lot of the post-season action on the ESPN radio app.

Then there is the non-sports television programming. For not having cable, I’ve basically had to end my relationship with Twitter and Facebook for certain nights of the week. I don’t want to know what happened on “Breaking Bad.” I don’t want to know what happened on “The Walking Dead,” and there is no way to avoid spoilers if I peer into social networking. Fortunately, AMC broadcasts these shows on their website a few days later, so I get to watch them. But of course it’s not the same since I can’t spout off on Twitter, not that I do that anyway.

There’s also leeching Netflix. I don’t always find a television show that I enjoy, but when I do, there goes productivity for the next few days as I watch the entire series in three days tops.

That’s resourcefulness. Creativity comes in too, in thinking of ways for this ‘80s/90s kid to break away from the hold that television has on me. Hey, TV basically raised me. There was no money for real baby sitters. So it’s a hard relationship to break.

But now, oddly enough, there is more time for stuff where there was never time before.

As a newspaper writer, of course, I enjoy writing, both fiction and non-fiction. It gives me time to polish off my old short stories and novel ideas that I never took time for before, and look into contests to enter stories into. I haven’t been happy with anything yet, but there’s no rush for that. I’m happy to just be at it again.

Then there are books. There’s all the stuff I haven’t read or want to reread that I own, and a whole library full of books when I get done going through those. I pay taxes for the privilege, so why not use it?

And there are thousands of other things to be done. Maybe I’ll get better at photography. Maybe I’ll pick drawing and painting up again. Maybe I’ll finally learn French, Spanish or another language, after toying with them for years.

There’s a lot out there, and all it took to see it was turning off the TV.

CAIN MADDEN is the managing editor of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at 562-3187 or by email at