Kill Your TV Killer

As a good stay at home sad, stay at home dad, I try to make sure that the kids don’t watch too much TV. My wife would prefer that they don’t watch any TV. We all know that TV is generally bad – please reference earlier conversation about Chucky Cheese – but there are some good programs. There are even some real programs that are educational.

I grew up in a house where the TV was on all the time. That means something different from today, we only had three channels. My wife also grew up in a rural setting where they would have had three channels had they a TV. That’s right, she had no TV. Apalling. Meanwhile, in our house the TV was on all the time. My parents read all evening seemingly by the light of the TV. In the winter, the TV lit up our cold northern Wisconsin nights. I remember having some idea that somehow the TV was responsible for heating our house. I didn’t know where the heat came from and this seemed like an obvious source. The back of the TV was always warm and humming.

You see, good reader, I developed a Television “muscle”. Since I saw (notice I don’t use the word “watched”) so much TV as a kid (and it helped to heat our house) I am now able to take it or leave it. I don’t really need to watch it. When I do watch it, there’s no guilt. I am at peace with my TV viewing. Unfortunately, my poor wife has had to travel a different path. She eventually got a TV in her family barn. Her and her sister had to let it warm up (the TV and the barn room) for twenty minutes before watching their favorite show (“Fame”). But, my dear wife fights a torturous battle with the TV every day. Her lack of the TV makes her not able to say no to the powers of the TV. She does not understand how to do battle with the TV. That’s right, you guessed it – no TV Muscle. When she watches the pretty colorful images radiating from the warm cozy screen, she becomes guilt-ridden. Several years ago, after a marathon of Sex in the City, she petitioned me to remove it from our living room. Or, we could just turn it off.

The funny thing is that before becoming Stay at Home Sad, my background was as a person who makes films and videos, in one way or another always connected to the world of the TV. Maybe it was because our TV was on all the time or maybe it was because I liked to tell stories. Maybe I liked to tell stories because my grandfather was one of the funniest story tellers I ever met or maybe it was because the Three Stooges were on every day after school between 4-5 pm.

I don’t want to paint my wife in a bad light (because of her “problem”). To some of you, I’ve painted myself in a bad light and my wife is a TV Fighter in the highest degree – deserving all the accolades you can bestow upon her and her tall steed that she rides in on. But the truth of the matter is that we do our best to not let our kids watch too much TV(maybe half hour to hour a day – and not necessarily every day). We are outside having that damn fresh air often. We don’t have a DVD in our vehicles (does that make me any better than those that do choose for TV in the car? I think you know the answer to that). And some Saturdays they watch cartoons all morning while we sleep in. And some days they watch TV for two hours while we clean the house or have an ocassional dinner without them, as they are quietly turning their minds to mush – or becoming story tellers.

Sadly Yours,

Jason Spafford

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