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Pique n' your interest

Total turnoff

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TV doesn’t often challenge us. It’s usually free, or at least affordable, and it provides instant gratification around the clock. Have a hard day at the office? Just sit down and turn on the television, and you’ll forget all about it within a few minutes.

TV is also entertaining, and that can also be therapeutic.

In times of crisis, it helps us stay connected to the event. After September 11, I don’t think the television was off at our house for more than four hours in a row.

In times of boredom, TV fills the void. When it’s on, we don’t have to think about work, worry about paying bills, or feel guilty about the bucket of fried chicken we just ate.

While those are good reasons to watch television, they’re also good reasons to turn it off.

Here are another few good reasons for me to adjust my viewing habits:

1. It’s summer.

2. It kills conversation, except during reality shows and commercial breaks.

3. It monopolizes my free time, something that always seems in short supply.

4. It un-inspires me – some of the best ideas come to me in a moments of boredom.

5. I did the math. If I watch just two hours of television a day (a conservative estimate), that’s the equivalent of 730 hours, or 30 days, every single year. I don’t want to spend a month out of every year watching tube.

6. I believe if I watch less television, I’ll play more guitar, read more, paint more, talk more, be more active, and generally get more out of life.

7. I don’t want to watch TV because I want to watch TV, even though deep down I really don’t – and that can’t be healthy.

I realize I can’t quit my TV addiction cold turkey, but thankfully there are some good Web sites out there that can help me through this. Check out www.whitedot.org, www.turnoffyourtv.com, www.tvturnoff.org, and Adbusters at www.adbusters.org.

Now if I could just get the word "stoked" out of my head.

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