TV needs a time out

The toads are all gone, having dug themselves new dens of dormancy. The hummingbirds are outta here, probably pulling into some hacienda garden spot as you read this. The bats are no longer around, heading south at the first itsy bitsy hint of frost. The signs are signaling. The Dark Season approacheth.

And there’s no escaping the fact that this year, the Dark Season looms even darker now that the powdery witch known as Ann Thracks has been flying about the country on her postal broom. That provokes the premonition that Halloween might lay a little lower this year, what with many would-be revelers still spooked by the all-time horrific Trick of Tricks. Its dark, lingering echo, combined with the bizarre drag being laid down by Ms. Thracks, has sorta funked up the vibe for this year’s Pumpkin Parties. We’ll see.

Tonight would be a good night for you to not watch television. Not because of a lack of interesting content—far from it. The Idiot Box has been rollin’ ever since 9-11, and you can find something of note on there very easily every night. It’s not the wasteland that once led Springsteen to moan about 57 barren channels.

But that’s the problem. TV has been so informative and so compelling lately that it’s easier than ever to just come home, automatically and automatonically click it on, and start soaking up all the analysis, the interviews, the reports, the profiles, the discussions, the debates and the opinions for two and three hours at a clip. And it’s easy to fall into such a routine day after day in order to check it out, keep in touch and stay abreast.

But go ahead … take the night off from El Tubo de Boobo. Instead, give yourself a couple of hours with the CD player. Treat your head, heart and body to some music for a refreshing change. And no fair just putting on a CD and turning the sound down on the TV! Dare to go one on one with your stereo. Turn the tube off, the lights out and the music up, give it your full, undivided and undistracted attention, and see what happens.

I don’t know what it will do for you. I don’t know where the experience will take you. I just know that it will be something DIFFERENT—that it will take you someplace besides Kabul or Islamabad or Washington or New York, and that you’ll feel things and think about things that are different and richer and deeper than what you feel and think when you immerse your eyes and ears in that wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am dunk tank called television.

Doing nothing but television every night is like always swimming in the shallow end of the pool. Don’t forget to swim in the deep end once in a while. Your CD player can take you there. There’s important stuff awaiting in the depths. Don’t neglect it. Especially now. Especially tonight. Treat yourself to a concert in your living room.

Unless, of course, that nasty witch Ann just flew her crop duster over Disneyland.