Did you know that the average American watches roughly 37 hours of television each week?* No? That’s probably because you are too busy watching television. That statistic breaks down to five-plus hours of television each day, every day.
My eyes glaze over just thinking about it. And, I’m reminded of a time long ago, when I was 5ish, and our television walked out the door.
OK, it didn’t exactly walk. It was helped. Most likely pushed. It was a huge-honking television, one with fancy, scalloped, wood detailing around the picture-tube portion. The kind of fancy, scalloped, wood detailing that you never, ever, ever want a toddler to projectile vomit onto because no matter how many Q-Tips you use, you’ll never, ever, ever be able to fully get rid of the scent.
But, that’s not why our television left us.
Mom had recently become a born-again Christian and decided that she and her family did not need the influence of secular television in their lives. Not even Farmer Television. So, out it went. No discussion. No voting. It was gone. And, it remained gone until I turned 13, and one came back into the house for the sole purpose of watching videos. G-rated videos, of course.
Honestly, I can’t even remember the immediate impact that action had on me or my siblings at the time. Perhaps I’ve repressed those memories. I can, however, tell you about the lasting impact that action had on my life.
8 Ways My Life Was Impacted By NOT Having A Television As A Child
- I do not make a good Trivial Pursuit 80s Edition teammate or Jeopardy! contestant. I have no recollection of popular cartoons or TV series that aired in the late 80s/early 90s beyond what I’ve seen or heard about later in life. None. This means if you ask me questions about them, I will stare blankly at you.
- To this day, I am an avid reader. My brothers and I spent much of our childhoods with our noses in books. We visited two public libraries weekly, came home with bags full of books and finished them lickety-split. We also won a lot of personal-pan pizzas from Pizza Hut.
- I’m pretty good at entertaining myself without the use of electronic devices.
- I can function without a television even when not forced to. It’s true. Even throughout college and after, when I had a TV and cable, I rarely used either except to check the weather or watch some news.
- I don’t get the public’s attraction to reality TV shows. I’ve yet to see any of that stuff in the reality I live in.
- I’m not overly interested in televised sporting events. Much to Husband’s chagrin.
- I’m very slow to become a fan of television shows that operate in a serial format. I don’t like to “have to watch” a show at a particular time on a particular day of the week. And that’s even with access to DVR. This does not mean that I do not like TV shows. I’m a fan of the Food Network and HGTV, but I’m not a regular watcher of either.
- I never have the same toys as the people around me. This was more noticeable during childhood. Although, come to think of it, you could apply that to my cell phone.
Sometimes people cannot believe I survived without a television for all those years. As if life without a television would be the most horrible-bad-awful thing ever. Here’s how I see it: If it’s not an option, then it’s not something you need to survive.
And, I think I turned out a-OK. Sure, I suck at trivia, but we can’t all be masters of 80s/90s pop-culture references now, can we?
*Nielsen Wire statistic