Set it Off

While we're ditching analog TV, why not kick the whole tube?

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Certainly it would be a challenge to let go of television. Can't settle down with a book. Don't want to clean the gutters. Spouse is away. Kids are out of control. Ahhh, the tube, instant gratification. Maybe you can watch something new. Maybe not. Perhaps a cable movie like Knocked Up, Hav Plenty or Daddy Day Care, something you've already seen for the second, third, possibly even the fourth time. Something that requires no mental energy whatsoever.

I do it, too. It's a hard habit to kick, and with TiVo and DVDs, the seduction is even more powerful. So, I know, it ain't gonna be easy. But consider the upside of alternatives.

By listening to radio—especially public radio—for the news and weather, you'll catch all sorts of tasty and informative feature stories and lots of eclectic music you otherwise would have missed.

By amusing yourself with other things, say listening to or playing music, you may tap into new talents and passions. You might learn to play an instrument. Or sing. Or form a music group.

With all that extra down time, you might visit friends and relatives and practice the fine art of conversation.

You might…play cards, Scrabble, checkers, Chinese checkers, bid whist, dominoes, backgammon. Or get one of those 1,000-piece puzzles and put it together as a family, couple or by yourself.

You might eat meals with people you love instead of in front of the television.

You could put together a model plane, ship in a bottle, make a motorcycle from a kit. Knit, crochet, sew, embroider or learn how to.

Go to the park. Walk, run, exercise, jump rope with the kids.

Go to a museum. Make art in the evening with colored paper, chalk and crayons. Make a family mural. Make a visual map of your dreams with pictures and phrases cut out of old magazines.