Here is a strange and recurring phenomenon in my life: I have trouble spending an evening -- let us say seven p.m, to nine p.m., just sitting and listening to music. It's okay to read and listen to music, or do something else and listen to music -- but it's not okay to just sit there and listen to music.
This may not seem strange to all of you -- but in my mind I compare two such hours to two hours of sitting and vegetating in front of the T.V. I feel a little guilty, but I have not trouble, absolutely no trouble, sitting , lying, watching the boob tube -- the news, some crime stories, anything. It fills time; it kills time.
It is amazing to me that it takes such an effort on my part to sit and read for two hours. During the school year, I feel I am wasting time. I am just sitting and reading. I should be doing something productive. I have trouble saying to myself: sit still. Grab some reading material -- material not at all relevant to your job. Read trash. Read stories. Read. I don't allow myself to do that. I do allow myself hours and hours and hours of watching T.V. It's relaxation. More to the point, it stops my thinking. It is so stupid, so unrealistic, so sensational, so mindless. Of course it stinks. That's why I watch it.
Over and over I have vowed to get rid of my T.V. Over and over I've told all of you it is sports on Television that mesmerizes me. The ballet like moves made by these giants who live inside my T.V. are unbelievably to behold --and it is only because of slow motion replay that one can behold these moves. I never feel guilty after I've watched Detroit running back Barry Sanders dance around and others grasp air. I've just watched America's Baryshnikov, America's Nureyev. I actually laugh out loud when I see the magic created by Barry Sanders.
One annnouncer explained it well. Barry Sanders runs low to the ground in what might be called a spread eagled fashion: One foot goes to the left and the other goes to the right. When the defender moves one way, both feet go away from the defender -- who is left looking very stupid -- and I laugh.
What I have just described is poetry in motion -- the greatest show on earth. No man is Barry Sanders' equal. Any man in front of Barry Sanders is sure not to tackle him. It is only when several are there that Barry can go no further.
Do I hear my own words? Do I understand why I do not banish my T.V.? But, truthfully, there will always be an excuse for keeping my TV, which always tempts me to watch other things on T.V. Soon, soon, it will go away, but meanwhile I will watch magic on TV -- Barry Sanders running, others grabbing air.
Copyright © 2004 Henry Morgenstein
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