I hope they didn’t throw any poo today.
My friend’s email ended with those words. No jk. No lol. I’m dead serious. This highlights the reality of our existences raising boys. I came home from a lovely walk with my husband to find my boys and her boys (all between the ages of 8 & 12) playing a game they made up called “Sling-the-Poo.” The object (not rocket scientry) was to hit your opponent with a worrisomely-thin plastic grocery bag full of dog poo while NOT being hit yourself. Players got a spontaneous lesson in centrifugal force when a whirling bag tore open, spewing foul batter all over two of them. I wondered if my friend would ever send her boys over to “play” again.
This is just one example of the fallout from curbing my children’s TV/video game/iPod use– what we in my home refer to as “electrical stimulation.” But oh! How much cleaner and less dangerous to plop them down beside the romantic glow of some rectangle. The worst that can happen to them is a crick in their little craned necks or a swallowed bug, as their mouths fall and remain open with intense, religious concentration. Over time they might develop that doughy, slouchy, translucent look of the physically diminished Game Stop type– ah, if that were truly the only downside to the virtual life! Some days, like on poo-slinging days, I wonder why we don’t just plug in like everyone else. I’ve heard all the good reasons to have cable TV– the food channel, Discovery channel, History channel, MTV. Not.
Why do I continue to turn my back on cable TV? Ok, TV in general. I got a taste of it recently. After traveling some nine hours to drop my son at encampment, I was a bit out of my comfort zone. So the idea of being holed up in the safety of our hotel room to watch some very special History channel together was appealing. With all the other raunchy choices, I felt like we were about to have us some television salad. I bunked down in my pj’s and fluffed the ten feathery pillows under me to do what the rest of America does in stride on any given night.
On comes an episode about serial murderers in America.
After educating me on the many deranged, psychopathic serial killers who live undetected all around me and look like Mr. Rogers, who could be my best friend for all I know because there’s no way to know who is and who isn’t, and even with all our scientific junk we still don’t know what makes a suave, well-adjusted, guy-I-probably-know decide to cut up truck drivers in his spare time and bury their parts in his herb garden…
…this phrase actually came out of the TV, along with creepy, anxiety-producing music: Will we– with xyz scientific gadgetry– be able to avoid the impending carnage? The. Impending. Carnage? The History channel is referring to my possible future? Really. That is about as subtle as being clubbed with a bus. Even though I was cognizant of the fact that the sole purpose of the show was to scare the snot out of me, I was still afraid to go get my dinner leftovers from the van at a commercial break. Grrr. And I said to myself, this is why I don’t watch TV. I’d rather live in the mildly naive state of DEFCON 5, than in the media-induced neurosis of a perpetual DEFCON 1, a reality that includes, around every corner, a serial killer, a rapist, and a tornado. Yes, even The Weather Channel has figured out how to exploit my fears. So I turn my back on TV, a drastic thing to do. Even though for just $75 a month I could have a buffet of terrors at my fingertips.
It can be a dangerous world out there, especially if you have an atom of creativity and a dearth of electrical stimulation.