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Giving in to the evils of cable television for the kids' sake

Let me tell you the line my husband fed me last year, about this time.

"We have to get cable television" he said. "Football season starts soon, and I can't miss the Dawgs."

I caved and agreed to have cable hooked up for the fall. Just as I suspected he would, he watched any and every gridiron game; even rebroadcasts from five years ago for which he knew the outcome. I marveled at how these predictable contests could provoke emotional highs and lows, verbal outbursts, and physical gyrations similar to the first time around.

At Christmas, I began my campaign for the disconnect. My spouse reluctantly arranged to pull the plug after the Super Bowl. At the end of halftime, fresh from Janet Jackson's mammary mishap, with his three sons saying "Did you see that?" in unison, he regretted that he had not conceded sooner.

This year, he put all that behind him, and began wheedling the topic of cable into as many conversations as he could fit it. "I'm going to get my hair cut. Sure wish we had cable."

Unsuccessful, he made a last ditch effort. He pled the case for the Summer Games in Greece. And here's the kicker: he cut right to my mother's heart by claiming the children deserved to view this grand historical event. It's what memories are made of, he maintained, a demarcation in the passage of a child's life.

He really knows my weak spots, and so the worn out cable guy arrived again at our house on Aug. 1 to install, just in time for the Olympics, 70 channels of adulterated garbage. Since my children will attend school, complete homework, eat dinner, take baths, and go to bed early on school nights during the telecast of this summer event that only comes once every four years, they will miss a valuable portion of history. How did summer end sooner in McDuffie County than it did in the rest of the world?

As you have surmised by this point, we have scarcely viewed any Olympic athletic heroism to date. But I have discovered that the tube offers many other interesting athletic events.

Like the opportunity to watch people think ... and think ... and think. If you think you would like to watch people think, then thankfully you can tune into poker games where several players sit around a table holding cards and thinking. Meanwhile, commentators whisper in the background about what they think each player is thinking, so you can compare what you think to what they think. It's a real cerebral workout for everyone.

Or, if you prefer more action, you can catch a fascinating show that brings together burly welders who build a trebuchet, that's a catapult everywhere but France, and use it to fling flaming pianos. Trebuchet is the only word (pardon their French) not bleeped out when the hairy tattooed men jump around like squealing cheerleaders cued by the explosive crash of the elephantine stringed instrument.

If you crave traditional athletics, however, don't miss the ESPN Hotdog Eating Finals featuring humongous hungry gluttons, referred to as athletes by so-called sports commentators. This year's world class competitors found themselves out swilled by a 125-pound lightweight from Japan. They don't do steroid screenings in this event, but boots do get checked to see where someone like that puts it all.

I guess I'm stuck watching this titillating nonsense until the end of football season. I only hope my brain doesn't turn to mush between now and the next wardrobe malfunction.



Web posted on Thursday, August 19, 2004


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