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THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON TELEVISION




My name is Glenn Weyant and I am a recovering television addict.

This is my story.

For forty-five years I've been
mainlining video signals, basking in the warm, soothing, maternal glow of the flickering cathode tube.

My parents gave me my fist taste of television as a baby and I have not known another way to live since.

But after a lifetime of chronic commercial television pabulum and assorted banalities smoothing my brain, getting rid of those pesky ridges and bumps that could lead to independent thought, my dealer decided to get greedy.

And that was just the motivation I needed to kick and go video clean.

Like many of you, I'd been using the same works to feed my television jones for years.

The old school rabbit ears worked quite nicely although a coathanger would do in a pinch.

Then my signal dealer comes by telling me he has this new digital stuff he wants me to try.

Amazing, he says, like French-kissing an electric outlet in a soft bath.

Hyper-clear and better than reality.

But to get a taste I'd need to upgrade.

What?

You want me to shell out more money to watch clearer crisper commercials?

Spend more money in a (dep)recession on crap I don't need to watch commercials for more crap I don't want to buy?

It was the bottoming-out moment I'd been waiting for.

If I'd been given the converter box for free and seen the signal I probably wouldn't have stood a chance.

Instead of writing this I'd likely be strung out on the couch drinking beer and eating Little Debbie's waiting for Sanjaya to get the bees at this very moment.

But I'm a cheap bastard and this whole thing rubbed me the wrong way.

All my life the television signal peddlers and I have had an implicit deal: In exchange for programming my mind and atrophying my body, I would get to watch shows about cheating spouses, cops and people surviving various tortures on distant islands.

It was a win-win deal for all of us.

But the covenant was broken and now I didn't have to quit the signal, the signal was quitting me.

My first week of sober-vision certainly hasn't been easy.

With my new found freedom I'm doing strange things like reading books and watching bats at sunset.

I also
know the road to recovery will be long and fraught with moments of backsliding.

Just the other day I found myself killing time, absent mindedly clicking around the static filled channels, remembering the old pathways, when I discovered analog signals from Mexico were still coming in.

I had only a taste, but the signals were clear and bright.

Pastoral soccer matches flowing on one channel, a poorly dubbed action movie on the other, and even a telenovela with macho cowboys and women wielding dangerous cleavage.

Through strength of will and perhaps with the assistance of a higher power (All Things Considered was about to start), I was able to turn the television off before my eyes glazed completely.

Today, in the back of my mind I know the signals are there if I want them, and
I must live with that knowledge every waking second for the rest of my life.

When word gets out about these primo dank analog signals coming from Mexico, I'm sure
Homeland Security will get busy building higher walls or purchasing multi-billion dollar television signal jamming devices.

We can't have good American consumers wandering the isles of all night grocery stores in search of Bimbo, Chata and Herdez now can we?

But for now life is good, and I'm taking television sobriety one channel at a time.

My name is Glenn Weyant and I am a recovering television addict.

(Hey, what do you know, the
Home Shopping Network  still works as well...)