Somewhere I lost the regular television habit. When I launched in 1964, on expulsion from high school, to the 1980s, when we started having kids, I lost the practice of regular watching.
I might catch an episode or two while visiting friends, but my later teen and adult years were TV-free. Some friends think it’s an understatement to say that I lack a lot of shared culture.
Why this big hole where others are filled with warm memories of Seinfeld and Cramer? It’s simple. For one thing, I was very poor, and moved around a lot in the Sixties, and in the Seventies, I had effectively broken the habit and saw no need to reacquire it.
Knowing I was deprived, friends invited me over to watch shows they thought were interesting, and it was a great way to socialize. But I really didn’t see where I was missing much.
The only TV I missed were the group get-togethers we had during grad school when we’d all go out to watch the hockey games at a local bar. There was a camaraderie to those events that could never be replaced.
In 1981, I married my lovely wife, and eventually, a television set entered the living room. It became essential equipment when the kids came along. But by mutual agreement, our kids watched Public Television shows, carefully selected videos, and other adult-vetted materials. Fred Roger’s show made me late to work more than once and was one of the shows I always tried to watch with the kids. You never outgrow your need for a day in the Neighborhood.
Towards the end of the ’80s, I slipped into the world of video production on a part-time basis, and a new reason for not watching TV appeared. Like many people who edit videos, I developed an annoying habit of cringing, calling out, and generally booing edit decisions that I felt were poor. Cut too soon, too late, or use a lousy transition, and I’d holler. Grandiose establishing shots made me mad, but a subtle diminutive edit would have me gushing praise while others watching wondered what I was going on about.
So, for peace in the house, I had to stop watching television – again.