Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson
There's a monster in my living room. It just sits there, its dark, blank face staring. I feel it in my bones—it's plotting against me.
People on the street know it as "the TV." I know it as the evil succubus that wants my very soul.
I keep clear of it most of the week. But on certain evenings I'm compelled to sit before it, a root beer in one hand, Funyuns in the other. That's when I finally lock eyes with it and succumb to its hypnotic glow. It tells me when to laugh and I do. It tells me when to cry and I do. It tells me when to say, "Oh, no she didn't!" and I do that too.
Hours later—when the spell is broken and I finally blink—the Funyuns are all gone and I'm left in a daze. What happened? What year is it? My girlfriend asked me to do something, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. Throw out the garbage? Wash the dishes? I play it safe and do both.
As Mama Boucher might say, TV is the devil. Fast, addictive. Unlike books, which require pages of reading before the fun kicks in, those "Breaking Amish" kids are ready to entertain as soon as you press the power button.
That's why I don't watch TV much. Not because I'm some hipster who shuns mainstream culture, or a quasi-socialist who deems the kind of entertainment TV provides to be too bourgeois. No, it's for the exact opposite reason—I'm a whore when it comes to anything cheap and easy. And like most people my age, I used to watch hella TV.
A few years back, I discovered that if I'm going to get some TV time in and not gawk my life away, I needed to have a plan of attack. I call it Hector's 3-Step Plan for Watching TV Not So Much.
Step 1: Never eat meals in your TV's presence. Few people eat meals at a dining table these days, opting to carry their plates into the living room so they can be entertained while they chew—because heaven forbid they're forced to talk to one another or chew and think at the same time.
Step 2: Avoid boredom at all costs. This is much easier than it sounds. Go for a run or hit the gym. Put your library card to use. Hang out with friends or visit that aging relative who everyone else has abandoned. (Note: This step also keeps you from raiding the refrigerator.)
Step 3: Pick which shows you're going to watch on a given day at the beginning of the week. This is similar to what dietitians tell people looking to lose a pound or two or 100. Tell yourself you're going to watch TV for only an hour on Thursday and that you're going to spend that hour watching "Sunny" and "The Daily Show." Then, when Thursday comes around, stick to it.
After a while, the TV will loosen its grip. You might even go whole days without thinking about Honey Boo Boo. As for me, I never allow myself to forget that I am a recovering TV addict. And the TV doesn't let me forget either. It's still there in my living room, still staring, still plotting, still calling out for my soul.
Hector Luis Alamo Jr. is a RedEye special contributor.
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