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My TV Turn-Off Diary

OK, it's TV Turn-Off Week. Good. America needs more time away from the boob tube. I know I could certainly stand to spend a few nights without listening to the sweet siren song of the cathode rays. My life is not so small that I can't find fulfillment on my own. After all, my girlfriend isn't really named Buffy and my best pals don't actually live in a Manhattan bachelor pad.

Then again, I don't have a girlfriend and my only pal is the one clerk at Blockbuster who doesn't give me an icy stare when, once again, I return "Caddyshack II" three days late. Crap.

No, no, no. That kind of negative thinking will get me nowhere. TV Turn-Off Week is supposed to be a positive experience, one that gives my already joyous life just a little more joie de vivre. There's got to be a lot to do this week. A lot to see and do and make wise-ass comments about. Once a critic, always a critic.

The phone, for instance. When was the last time I picked up the phone and had a good conversation with some far-flung relatives? It's been far too long, that's for sure. Yep, I'll just pick it up and give good ol' Aunt Ruth a ring.

But Aunt Ruth is something of a windbag. Plus, she always calls me Deano and compares me to her other nephews. "George just got a promotion at the lumber yard. Now he's in charge of two-by-fours and plywood. He said that a Home Depot headhunter gave him a call the other day. They're looking at him for their caulking and grouting department."

Come to think of it, watching Homer Simpson talk on the phone would be a lot more interesting than doing it myself. Sorry, Aunt Ruth. Maybe I'll drop you an e-mail.

Let's see, what else could I do? I've got a shelf full of books here. "The Count of Monte Cristo?" Hey, remember that Seinfeld where George ordered the Monte Cristo sandwich? That was a pretty good one. Wait a minute, this is TV Turn-Off Week! Dammit, brain, no more TV references! These are books, after all, the last refuge of the conscientious intellectual.

How about "To Kill a Mockingbird?" There's a classic. I love that scene when the mockingbird takes a dump on Gregory Peck's shoulder and then Peck throws the bird into a ceiling fan.

Stop. That was Shasta McNasty, a parrot and Jake Busey. Damn you TV, it's high time I break this insidious Vulcan mind meld you've seen fit to saddle me with. TV Turn-Off Week? How about TV Turn-Off Decade?

"War and Peace." Now there's a book. Nobody would dare turn this into television. I'm going to read the whole damn thing right now. Since I don't have to worry about catching SportsCenter for Stanley Cup highlights, I'll be done with it by midnight!

Hmmm. This is a big book. A really big book and I've got things to do tomorrow. Maybe I'll just read the Cliff's Notes.

Holy crap, the Cliff's Notes are 300 pages long. I don't have the attention span for that anymore. Maybe I can get the Cliff's Notes on video.

Here we go, an invitation to my nephew's third grade play tomorrow night. "Hooray for Molars!" Now this will be real entertainment -- the kind of meaningful, straight from the heart celebration of the arts that those Hollywood hacks wish they could produce.

On the other hand, last year's spectacle "Three Cheers for Gums!" was a disgrace. The lead toothbrush must have been studying Jon Seda's Homicide episodes for enunciation lessons and the girl that played Cinnamon Flavored Floss was the grammar school equivalent of Kirstie Alley. My nephew Lionel, almost my own flesh and blood, brought eternal shame on the family name by being so petrified by stage fright that he curled into a ball and started sucking his thumb right there on stage, much like the producers of Action must have done after seeing those first Nielsens.

We won't even mention the script except to say I think I know what the writers of Veronica's Closet were doing once they got fired last season.

Second grade play, my ass. The whole thing reeked of kindergarteners. The stupid ones.

So maybe we'll skip the school play. We'll also skip books and the telephone. There's got to be something else to do, right?

Miniature golf and shadow puppets. That's it? Sweet Saint Josephine, my life sucks.

Screw it. Who's behind this whole TV Turn-Off thing anyway, the Amish? Never trusted them and their little hats and beady eyes.

You know who I do trust? TV. It gives me the adventures, friends, comical situations and life I could never have on my own. I'm sorry TV, please forgive me. I'll never turn against you again. Please don't send Buffy to kick my ass and straighten me out.

Then again, I have been a very naughty boy...


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