How many people here don't think I'm going to be serious? Okay, that would be all of you. Well, here is the shocker: I'm serious about this. TV addiction is very, very real. More so than smoking, more so than pot, and more so than alchohol. It is more insidious than any of these addictions because an entire industry and institution has been built around television entertainment. It is such a part of mainstream America that we don't even realize what we're doing until it's too late. TV addiction is uncontrollable. The price for TV addiction is higher than any of us will consciously admit. I'm certain that it is the downfall of most marriages and the reason why half of this country is unemployed, overweight, lazy, and has attention deficit disorder. My name is Vikar... and I'm a TV addict. (Okay, I'm waiting for the rest of the room to say, "Hi Vikar!") I have yet to find one support group like TVA (Television Anonymous) around. It apparently exists but I've never seen its ilk about in New Jersey. You may ask, "Vikar, how did you become a TV addict?" Well, I don't know exactly. I've been watching television since before I remember. As a matter of fact, I don't remember a time in my childhood when I wasn't watching the tube. It's not like some shadowy figure rolled up to me with a Neilson box and said, "Hey kid, wanna try this for free? It's black and white but it'll get better... trust me." No, that didn't happen. Also, I wasn't strapped to a chair as a toddler and force fed TV programs. Well, maybe I was, come to think of it.
I had a relatively normal childhood. I was active in sports: baseball, soccer, karate and judo. I had friends. We would watch television together and watch the Saturday 4:30 monster movies with Godzilla and Gamera. And aside from living in a suburban area that was duller than moose shit on a summer day, we made do with what we had - which was pretty much nothing. We did normal kid deviant things like throw rocks at each other and jump from the roof of new housing constructs onto large piles of dirt. On rainy days we stayed inside and watched Looney Tunes. We rode our bikes everywhere in Howell Township to Lakewood and went exploring. And when we had access to explosives, like firecrackers, we blew things up. (Take that! You bubble wrap moms of the new millenia!) However, with all that aside, I did watch an abnormal amount of television. I would get home from school and watch TV immediately. This was bad. I would watch TV until about 8:PM, do my homework, and come back downstairs and watch some more until I had to go to bed. My parents actually owned one of the first pilot VCR's back in 1978. It never really occurred to my parents to actually turn off the TV. Especially when they were getting comments from parent/teacher conferences that I had problems paying attention in class and "lacked self control" (Pay attention, kiddies, these are all symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder). So, apparently, it was my fault for lacking the self discipline at ages 6 to 18 to not watch television. How was I to know?!! I WAS ADDICTED!!! It was all I knew.
I watched so much television I could tell you the difference between the two Darren's in Bewitched. I could probably summarize every plot of I Love Lucy, Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, The Brady Bunch, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, All In The Family, The Jeffersons, Welcome Back Kotter, Good Times, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, The Carol Burnett Show, as well every cartoon that came on a Saturday Morning since 1971. As a child, I can remember sneaking into my parents' room on a Saturday morning and hitting my mother in the head with a straw cowboy hat in an F-Troop Corporal Agarn-like move. Mom wasn't happy. My parents through the grace of the ten commandments allowed me to live to age 18. Fortunately, my grades were good enough to get me into college. Fate was also on my side. I didn't take a television with me...
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