We were invited to a backyard barbecue a few weeks ago by our
friend AE and her husband JE.
Whenever we get together, JE starts recommending to me TV shows
he has become hooked on and finds interesting — and thinks I will
I always explain politely, every time we are together, thanks but
no thanks — I have no interest and will never take a look at any
of these shows.
One reason is the increasing popularity of shows that are
episodic, such as Lost was and The Walking Dead is, requiring you
to watch every week — or save them up and binge-watch multiple
episodes in one sitting.
I avoid the shows he recommends because (a) I fear I might indeed
get hooked and (b) watching TV shows are a time-suck that, more
often than not, (c) rots your brain.
Neuroscientists who took MRI scans of 290 children ages 5 to 18
found that anatomical changes inside the youngster’s brains after
prolonged TV viewing actually lowered IQ.
In effect, watching too much TV has now scientifically been
proven to make people stupider.
“Well, if you don’t watch TV then what do you do?” JE asks me,
I explain that the two activities I substitute for TV are reading
Writing is mainly my vocation. Though I love it so much, I can
hardly call it “work.”
To paraphrase Les Paul, if you do what you love for a living,
than it isn’t really work.
Reading is my favorite spare time activity.
I read widely, both fiction and nonfiction books of all types.
But this too is part of work, in that reading (a) provides grist
for the copywriting mill, enabling me to acquire all sorts of
knowledge that invariably finds its way into my promotions.
And (b) reading and writing are the two best ways to become a
better writer — so reading is in essence my ongoing continuing
education as a copywriter and book author.
Avoiding lots of TV allows me to spend more time writing and
reading, two activities that are much more active and beneficial
than TV, which is passive and mind-numbing.
I do sometimes turn on the TV when I am tired and just want to
veg out, but I rarely watch more than an hour a day.
What do I watch? We have cable, so I flip until I find a movie
that looks interesting and watch part of it, and only rarely do I
find it just as the film is beginning.
I have to confess that there are certain movies that I will watch
repeatedly when I stumble across them on TV; I do not buy movies
They include The Book of Eli, Galaxy Quest, Water World, The
Postman, Robocop, Dracula Untold, and any movie with Wolverine in
If you think my taste is abysmal, then watch what you like and
don’t worry about what I like.