Click. Flick. Flush. Repeat.

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

My television is state of the art. Circa 2001. It weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 pounds and has a built in DVD player and a VCR.


That’s Video Cassette Recorder for those of you born after Charles in Charge was taken off the air. I miss you Buddy.


Needless to say, not a lot of TV is watched in our house.

It wasn’t always this way, but a few years ago we terminated what had been a long and arduous relationship with our satellite TV provider. It had become a costly alliance and once we discovered that we were spending as much per month on the goggle-box, as it costs to import a unicorn from France, we made the decision to pull the plug on the liaison.

The breakup with our entertainment pusher was messy and involved a lot of late-night, long-distance phone calls, tears and heavy breathing.

They were upset too.

We’ve since filled the gap with three semi-local channels. Also, a Netflix account.

As a result, the 5-year old is so unfamiliar with the concept of broadcasting, that any time she encounters real television at a friend’s house or while in a hotel room (she’s on the road a lot… you know, for work) she tries to figure out how to pause the program so she can go for a pee.

And commercials are a mystery.

“Is this a show?” 

No, it’s an advertisement.

“What’s an advertisement?” 

It’s when someone tries to sell you something.

“Like a giraffe?”

More like soap. Or cereal.

“For the giraffe?”

Sure.

“Is this a show?”

No, it’s another commercial.

To be honest, I don’t miss satellite TV any more than I miss the Duran Duran inspired haircut I used to rock in high school. Sure it was awesome - I have really thick hair after all - but it involved too many eggs and sexual ambiguity.

The reflex...
And so, I’ve become rather fond of getting my news online and watching long-ago cancelled sitcoms on my laptop.

But that was before I went to Florida, where I caught the flu. Although technically, the flu caught me, kicked me in the back of the knee, cracked a walnut on my temple and knocked me flat on my back for the better part of a week. Beyond groaning, all I could do was lay down, sweat out the fevers and watch the colors float across the black box in the corner of the bedroom while drifting in and out of consciousness.

The view from there.

Dateline: Florida, January (or was it February?) 2014. 

Click.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

 Flick.

My 600-Pound Life. This is not a typo.

Flick.

Wife Swap. Flick. Sister Wives. Flick. The Real Housewives. Flick. The Waltons. Flick. Where Are They Now? Flick.

I flicked so much; I broke the TV Guide Channel. 

There were so many channels, it took me 1/2 hour to flip through them all. So in essence, I watched every show that was on television while simultaneously watching nothing at all. Which brings me to two very important questions “When did Harry Connick Jr. become a judge on American Idol?” and “Why is Sponge Bob Squarepants on Channel 53, twenty-four hours a day?”

But before I knew it, I was hooked… mostly on infomercials featuring products like these:

A set of 50 soft rock CDs
 The shipping is free but it will take 100 years to listen to all the songs, once. 

The Bacon Bowl
 You make a bowl. Out of bacon. Three for $10. For a limited time. 
 
Night Vision Glasses
They normally cost $439 each but by calling a toll-free number at 2am,
you can own 2 for $10. And, you can’t break them. Not even with a hammer. 

"Kitchen" Knives 
(including the 4 foot long saber, for onions) 
 
188 pieces for $188, so you know we're talking high quality. 

Zumba Exercise Videos 
Guaranteed to make you paper-thin as long as you have
a live-in choreographer named Chip. (Wait, is that Will Wheaton?)

 NutriBullet
 
This little powerhouse can puree a cat. At least, I think that's what I saw at 4am. 
Then there were the regular run-of-the-mill commercials for things I never knew I needed. Like free, no-obligation Hair Replacement kits, Pasta Sides by Knorr and a Ford Escape.
Day after day, night after night, I would fall asleep to the sounds of slick salespeople and expensive "Real" Housewives, only to be awakened by the drool puddle on my pillow and the jeering of a Giant Hissing Cockroach, which as it turns out was just a dead TV channel signal. Except for that one night when, while after crawling to the bathroom for the 40th time, I glanced up to see a gargantuan six-legged beast on the wall trim. He had a suitcase, said his name was Winston and explained he was on his way to Cuba. 

It may have been the codeine talking.

And speaking of drugs, there are far too many pharmaceutical advertisements on Channel 24. From painkillers and anxiety reducers to skin clarifiers and penis lifters, there's a pill, potion or lotion to cure whatever ails you. 

Which reminds me… apparently I pee too much. But that’s okay, because on satellite TV, there’s a patch for that.

No, really.

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