I feel so utterly isolated sometimes.It’s not because I live far from campus out in the fields; nor is it due to my apathy when it comes to engaging in conversations involving the words “bro” or “chill.” My loneliness is not a side effect of anti-sociality – on the contrary,I am quite the shit-shooter,if I do say so myself.The reason for my isolation is due to my lack of a “machine” that has become the sole interest of seemingly every human being on earth – the television.
It seems no matter what the topic of discussion is,the general discourse always forays into a chat about some absolutely tear-jerking show on Fox,or some riotous,unmissable series on one of the other500crappy cable veins.Typically,someone in the group of people I will be talking to will,out of nervous tension,bring up one of these shows and everyone else in the group will immediately break down in uncontrollable laughter.As the titles of shows are mentioned,the group suddenly jerks to life,bobbling around like fickle elves,chirping about like overzealous bluebirds.
Even my professors seem to love this; television shows are constantly referenced in my English110class,and it seems like we spend at least45minutes a day insociologywatching “Friends.” As I sit attempting to listen to the dialogue,my efforts are thwarted by30giddy girls who frantically scream out lines.With wide,crazed eyes and mouths agape,these girls are clearly in a realm beyond healthy obsession; they are in a state of glazed idolatry,of infantile dependency on the screen and its characters.The whole class laughs and whines uncontrollably while myself and the40-year-old man next to me sit silently,staring straight ahead,bewildered and isolated in the sheer chaos.
Constantly,friends berate me for my lack of tube knowledge.
BULLSHIT!” they yell incredulously. “You’veneverseen“Heroes“?!” They turn to one another as if personally insulted by my unforgivable ignorance.They can’t understand how I have survived this long without TV– without the visual,orgasmic divinity of the screen’s light late at night,or without its dull murmur throughout the afternoon.
“I keep it turned on all the time,” says my girlfriend over the phone after I question the noise in the background.
“You keep me turned on all the time,” I retort,chuckling at my incredible wit.
“You are lame,” she says. “Yes! Conan’s on!”
“That’s the Irish guy with the floppy hair,right?” I ask.I always find myself asking these questions.The conversation trails off this way,as she begins to intermittently giggle at jokes on a screen I cannot see.In her defense,she barely watches any TV,but even the slightest amount of screen exposure is a hell of a lot more than me.
The main reason people are so incredulous toward my lack of a television is that they cannot understand what else I could possibly do in my spare time.Without “Heroes,” “American Idol,” “House” – whatever the fuck else they watch– they would be “Lost” with nothing to do in their “Cribs,” and they would be forced to confront “The Real World” face to face.
I love not having a TV,but I feel like there are more people existing in virtual worlds today than in reality.To them,reality really does exist in a screen; television itself has become a real presence in their lives,and the world outside is nothing more than a replica of virtual truth.Soon enough,people will start to get confused by the conflicting ideas of virtual replication and reality itself,but nobody cares about that now.What they care about is whether or not last night’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” delivered,or which “Baywatch” cast member had the biggest chest.
Sure,I don’t have a TV.Go ahead and laugh; give me a befuddled look,guffaw in my face.But I’m not the one wasting mysweet-ass time lowering my IQ by watching garbage.I’m doing far more important and intellectual things,like staring at my blank,white walls… my utterly… blank… walls.
ZACK CROCKETT is bored and screenless.Lighten his life at email@example.com.XXX