Addiction

I hate my old, clunky TV — yet I can’t turn away.

Our television set is older than our children, our dog, our marriage and our dating relationship. It is the same television that brought me “Animaniacs” and “Saved by the Bell” in middle school; the same television that piped the antics of Rachel and Ross into my brain in high school; the same television had my husband and me rolling with laughter at “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” while we were honeymooners.

Considering our history, I should love her. But I don’t.

Four years ago, we moved to a new city and cut cable from our life. We knew we were television addicts: As newlyweds, we had wasted too many weekends on cable marathons of “Law and Order” reruns. Like alcoholics swearing never to set foot in our old favorite bar, we cut ourselves off.

Now, our old, bulky TV receives only eight broadcast channels, and nearly all of them are fuzzy. Sometimes the reception is so bad that static drowns out the dialogue and the picture rolls up and flickers, off-center, in the screen.

A normal person would have given up on the TV by now. But not me. Oh no, I’ve become an expert at peering through the fuzz and distinguishing the figures behind the snow. Most evenings, I’ll suffer through three hours of primetime. A girl’s got to have her “Ugly Betty” and “Grey’s,” after all.

I had hoped that the writers’ strike would finally force me to stop feeding my addiction to the flickering blue light of the screen. But I am that junkie, fishing stale beer bottles out of the trash, hoping to garner enough drops for a fix. No new shows? That’s okay, I’ll just watch “Matlock.”

It’s that bad.

I lust after a new, flat-screen LCD TV. With HD. With cable. With hundreds of crystal-clear channels to rot my brain. But when I get that glazed look in my eye over the Best Buy flyers for new TVs, my husband shakes his head. It’s not worth rearranging our budget to feed our addiction, he insists.

So it’s back to the Dumpster with me. After all, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” is coming on.

Article © 2007 by Stacey Duck