I can’t remember what specific event caused me to cancel our cable.
In the dusty recesses, I remember being peeved that it cost so much to rot my brain. Rotting your brain should be virtually free of charge, I thought. And a helluva lot more fun.
That’s just basic cost-benefit.
I also remember the lower back immobility caused that time I streamed 15 episodes of True Blood. My friend told me that all the muscles would seize up unless I kept them moving so, on her orders, I crawled around my house on all fours, wading through unvaccuumed pet hair and remnants of God-knows-what (of which, I unfortunately knew “what”).
Frankly, I just don’t think it will ever be possible to describe how disgusting my floor was. But, if you imagine crawling over a dog’s butt, then you’re getting pretty close.
I canceled right around the time that Spongebob’s voice began making me twitchy. Right around the time I finished my student teaching and emerged from the dark tunnel called “My Masters Thesis.”
I canceled at the point when finding something good to watch had become a spiritual path, and holding the remote up to sensor level a Tai Chi posture.
I canceled, and thoughtlessly ran to another: National Public Radio. 90.1; KUER. Wax on, wax off; door closed, window opened.
That was 2010.
By early 2012, problems began to surface.
During the Diane Rehm show one day, I flipped the radio the bird after hearing a disturbing clip from the movie "Bully." The clip detailed a school administrator's indifference to receiving proof of Alex's claims that he was being choked and stabbed with pencils while riding the school bus; as Alex's mother virtually begged for her help, the administrator reponded by letting the crying mom know that the bullies were always "as good as gold" when she was around. Since I was unable to kick the crap out the administrator in person, flipping her off seemed like the very least I could do.
A few months later, I called Jim the college professor from Provo a “stupid a@#hole” when he phoned into RadioWest claiming that those who didn’t carry guns at all times were irresponsible.
“If more people had guns,” Jim the a@#hole said, “we’d have less violent crime because there would be less crime committed as more law-abiding citizens would have guns.”
And I’m, like, sure, Jim. Let’s arm the freaking turd who broke into my car at Christmastime. Let’s arm me, who can’t even manage to make boxed bread. Let’s see how many of my kids I accidentally kill while shopping for school clothes. Moron.
Then, when George Zimmerman wasn’t arrested right away after killing a kid,….it was not good. There was language addressed to the radio which is only appropriate if I was a rodeo clown who just got gored. Or Paulie on The Sopranos.
NPR had made “Outrage” my new hobby.
The final straw came the other day—Friday the 12th—during the international hour of the Diane Rehm show. The topic: Edward Snowden.
They were talking about how Mr. Cloak-and-Dagger-Code-Name-“Verax” himself had asked Human Rights Campaign to come in and review his case.
And I’ll admit that Mr. Snowden reminds me of a video gamer who believes he can revert his life to a saved version of a previous session. I’ll admit that every cell in my body believes that Mr. Snowden has led a privileged, white bread/vanilla life, and streams Breaking Bad on Fridays to stoke the flames of his red hot inner rebellion. Where he can be all street smart and savvy and revolutionary, and post status updates like, “Yo, bitches!” while sporting a tattoo his parents can’t see that says, “WWJD.” As in, “What Would Jesse [Pinkman] Do.”
I’ll admit that, in my view—making $200,000 per year on just a GED, and claiming experiences and background the legitimacy of which only he can vouch for--means he is probably the ultimate player of “The Game,” whose self-serving to-do list now includes only two items:
1. Get out of this frigging airport.
2. Find a new country to play Xbox in
I admit a bias.
So when, on the show, Tom Gjelten said about Snowden:
Well, I think you have to have some sympathy for him if for no other reason than, here we have a 30 year old kid whose social experience has been limited. I mean, he's been sort of, according to everyone who knew him, he's the kind of a kid that's spent all of his time in front of a computer and was a very smart but not very wise in the ways of the world and he's up against the United States government which is absolutely determined, as Susan said, absolutely determined that no country grant him asylum.
…I went boom.
Excuse me? Sympathy for a 30-year old "kid" who’s been sheltered in front of a computer sipping Starbucks? Sympathy for someone who calls the Human Rights Campaign like they’re travel agents--Venezuela? Iceland? Bolivia?—and whines to them about his U.S. Passport being revoked? Who rakes his parents for all their hard-earned money while having a hissy that the U.S. Government is impeding his Flight of the Felon? Sympathy for him while people infinitely less smarmy and sneaky are sacrificing life, limb, and—sometimes—their lifelong mental health in order to preserve a way of life that’s in constant threat by foreign and domestic terrorists?
NPR is a national treasure. I can personally attest that it has changed my life. That I have cried during driveway moments, and bragged on more than one occasion about having an NPR reporter living 5 houses away (whose daughter used to babysit my own).
But it was a wake up call when, after hearing Gjelten’s comment, I said, “Be careful, Edward: Putin’s gonna make you his little b!tch. I hear he likes black and see-through.”
Another door closed; another window opened.
I recently switched to 94.1. Classic rock/“Oldies.”
It’s nice to know all the words to the songs.
Oh, and I’m seriously thinking about getting cable.