We watch... so you don't have to.

Save a Life -- Buy a TV

I was looking at some raw data from the Journal of Statistics Data Archive when I came across a chart titled "Televisions and Life Expectancy." Reading the data, I made an interesting little discovery: the lower the ratio of people to televisions, the higher the life expectancy.

Contrary to popular belief, watching an episode of Profiler doesn't suck the life out of you, it seems it actually makes you stronger. Go figure.

For example, here in the good ol' U.S. of A, there is one television for every 1.3 people. The average life expectancy? 75.5 years.

Compare that the citizens of Pakistan, who have one TV for every 73 people. What does that translate to? A life expectancy of 56.5 years. Over in Egypt the ratio of 15 people to one TV set probably figures in its life expectancy of 60.5 years. And in Iran, the average life expectancy is 64.5 years and its ratio is 23 people to one TV.

The more I think about it, the more this low life expectancy/TV set thing makes sense. I mean, have you ever had a fight with your spouse or a roommate over what you were going to watch on TV? Imagine you live in Pakistan and you're having this argument with 72 other people. Things could get ugly:

PERVAIZ: Tonight, we watch The Mork and Mindy!

SEERAT: No, we tonight watch the sublime David Hasselhoff in the underrated action show, The Knight Rider!

AZIZ: It is Allah's will that we watch cricket!!!

MUHAMMAD: No! It is Allah's will that will that we watch the Ricky Schroder in the classic American sitcom, The Silver Spoons!!!

PERVAIZ: Allah wishes to watch The Mork and Mindy!!!!

ZARALUL: No, he wishes to see The Knight Rider!!!

IJAZ: Allah wishes to watch the comedy stylings of Umer Sharif!!!

MUHAMMAD: I will kill any man who does not wish to watch the genius that is the Ricky Schroder!!!

IJAZ: Death to the infidel!

MUHAMMAD: Arggghhhh!!!!!!

I think you get the picture.

Oh sure, some "experts" might say low life expectancy has more to do with "the quality of medical care" or "bad social conditions." But I know their dirty little secret -- the TV has got magic powers.

Now some of the numbers don't make any sense. France has a higher people-to-TV ratio than the U.S., and yet they have a longer life expectancy. I was confused at first, but I quickly figured it out: the French are all watching TV while dead drunk on red wine.

The ratio of people to TVs in Japan is also higher, and their life expectancy is longer by four years. This could be confusing, until you realize that the Japanese have high-definition TV. They've had it for years, and it is only obvious that a higher quality TV image would translate to extra health benefits. And think about this: why is it that the Japanese already have the Playstation 2, while we have to wait until September?

I'm telling you, they know something.

However, the most puzzling bit of information had to do with Canada. Despite the fact that the U.S. and Canada have virtually the same TV-to-people ratio, Canadians, on average, live longer. This one had me stumped for a while, until I started jiggering around the US-Canadian exchange rates. And according to my math, one Canadian year is equal to 1.3 American years.

I guess that would explain why Michael J. Fox has always looked so young.

So the next time you find yourself complaining about how there's nothing good on TV, count your lucky stars. Because in China, people are dying for a little TV -- literally.


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