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Disconnecting the satellite dish

Last week, I got the bill for my satellite television. A little math told me I was paying $2.16 per day for the service. 

What a jolt. After some reflection, I realized that since the Twins season went down the drain, I hadn't turned on the TV for at least 10 days. 

That's $21.60 for nothing!

So, I committed an act of cultural treason: I called the satellite company and had them cancel my service. 

Unlike what I expected, the process was easy. The lady on the phone was very nice. 

"I just don't use it," I said when asked my reasoning for such a rash and unpatriotic move.

I must have sounded authentic. Although I know she had a script in front of her which requires her to ply me back with offers of free HBO, movies, baseball packages and the like, the lady sensed I meant business and let me off easy. 

She didn't even say, "Is there anything else I can help you with today?" at the end of our conversation. She knew it was over between us and hung up with grace. 

For a while, I thought: What if something newsworthy happens? Won't I want to see the latest?

Well, the last time I tried that was when Osama bin Laden was killed. That was a big deal! Time to turn on the TV. 

I flipped on the television only to find the commentary on every cable news channel so insipid, repetitive and trite that I shut the thing off and ran back to the computer. 

Won't I miss the weather on the local channels? 

Over the years, I have discovered that the weather happens whether you watch the weather or not. Plus, you can get the latest radar on your computer.

I no longer need the local weatherman. Sorry, buddy, you're obsolete!

Cutting off TV might seem virtuous. In fact, in the flush of excitement after I shut off the satellite, I was primed to brag to friends and relatives of my righteous decision to cleanse my life of 300 channels of trash. 

I came close to posting word of my big decision on Facebook so the world would know of my goodness. 

But honesty required me to face the hard truth that I still maintain several electronic vices, which verge on addiction.

For example, if I forget my cell phone at home, I panic, certain that I am going to get caught on a township road in a blizzard without candles or clothing -- even if it is eighty degrees, sunny, and I am cruising down I-94. 

Another electronic addiction: If I go more than fifteen minutes without checking my email, I begin to shake and twitch. 

Yet when I am traveling and have to let email go unchecked for hours on end, nothing happens! The world doesn't end! 

Deep down, I am probably offended that nobody noticed or cared that I was disconnected for eight hours. Am I that unimportant that I can just disappear for eight hours without somebody sending out a search party? 

Speaking of the economy, if I go more than a half-hour without checking the Dow Jones Industrial Average on the computer, I start to feel faint. 

Yet, if the Dow goes up 500 points today, it will go down 600 tomorrow. None of it will affect me until I retire at which time I'll probably have to stock shelves at WalMart anyway. 

So, why worry? 

If I go more than three hours without reading some political commentary on the Internet that makes my blood boil, I start to feel like an irresponsible citizen. 

After all, aren't we supposed to stay informed so we know who to vote against?

But for all the reading I do of the latest political gossip, not one item has changed the way I vote. And not one outrageous news article has made me a better citizen. 

I would be better off if I spent the time doing something about the problems right on my doorstep.

For starters, I could simply sweep said doorstep. And then seal the porch.

So, I have a long ways to go before my life is cleansed of destructive and time-consuming electronic habits. 

But for the moment, at least, I have escaped the evil clutches of television.