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How to Rid Yourself of Television

Sunday, November 26 2006

For almost a few months now Carrie and I have been considering getting rid of our television so that we may, in our own estimations, better our home and quality of life. In a time when people, myself included, are tech obsessed and frothing over 42 inch plasma screens, we’re stepping back and turning the noise off.

The first order of business was to physically remove the television from our home, the television that is so heavy that it took six grown adults to lift it into its cubby hole above our fireplace. Carrie and I managed to remove it last night with the help of some well placed furniture and the proper use of skateboards. Actually removing it meant that giving into the tempation of watching will be impossible without the help of six grown adults who must be convinced to move a TV that’s gotta weigh at least a ton.

There are a lot of reasons why we removed it, the first being that we were letting our kids watch more and more and seeing their behavior spiral into supreme crankiness. We went back and forth, wondering if TV watching really did contribute to bad behavior, and more recently were convinced beyond a doubt. When our kids don’t watch TV, they’re far more independent, creative, friendly, and talkative. These are the kinds of behaviors we want to encourage, and the TV was making that job more difficult.

Then of course there’s some money to be saved here, about $960 a year in satellite and TiVo subscription fees. I figure that $80 a month could be far better spent at a bookstore than on paying for television, most of which is ads.

So removing the television, for me, is a step in that direction. I don’t want to be ruled by a box sitting in the most prominent spot in my home. I don’t want to be tempted to buy meaningless junk, or spend hours at a time with my brain sitting idle.

What finally pushed me over the edge was when I met Kevin Kelly, editor of the famed Whole Earth Catalog (this big mysterious book I used to pore over as a kid) and the first editor of Wired magazine (easily my all time favorite magazine). Kevin has long been someone I’ve admired, and when I met him a few weeks ago we spent at least 20 minutes talking about the benefits of removing your television. He helped push me over with two comments – the first was that his kids, now young adults, thanked him for removing the television when they were kids. And then he told me