Turns out, I was wrong.
As someone wildly addicted to television — the good, the bad and even, more often than I’d like to admit — the reality, I’ve long assumed that if my ability to channel surf was taken away, I would, in short order, suffer a slow, horrible, painful demise. (To be fair, I also assumed that the only scenarios in which I could be kept from enjoying my brain-numbing pastime involved kidnapping, extended comas and/or apocalyptic conditions.
Yet for a week now, I’ve been happily ensconced in a gorgeous beach house at the Delaware shore, blissfully unaware of all things television related. The closest I’ve come was a marathon viewing of KIPPER, via Netflix, with a 3-year-old that some clearly ill-advised parent left in my care for 48-hours. (For the uninitiated, KIPPER is an adorable animated series following the misadventures of the titular pup and his friends, all of whom are made about 100 times more precious by the fact that they have British accents.)
Turns out, much to my surprise, I have neither gone into a state of shock nor, truth to be told, missed my shows very much.
What I have missed is the interaction that now comes as a part of television viewing thanks to the communal water cooler that is Twitter.
In my non-vacation life, I can be found most weekday afternoons live-tweeting GENERAL HOSPITAL (at @soapsindepthabc) with such bizarrely monikered peeps as Gooz (@TheGoozster) and Wubs (@Wubsnet). And most nights, I’m over on another of my many Twitter accounts, @dispatchesFTC, as I talk about shows such as DALLAS, GAME OF THRONES and whatever else I happen to be watching on a several-day DVR delay.
And that’s not even counting my daily instant-messaging with this site’s host, who happens to be one of my closest friends.
Turns out that in the modern age, television is becoming a communal experience. No matter how much you should be ashamed of your guilty pleasures (DUCK DYNASTY, anyone?), you’ll find a whole lotta someones on the internet who are just as invested in it… even if they’ll only admit it from behind the glorious anonymity of a Twitter handle. The conversations we once had the following morning (“Did you catch THE COSBY SHOW last night?”) we now have as we’re watching.
As much as I haven’t missed tuning in and zoning out, I ain’t gonna lie: As soon as we’re back on our home turf, you can be assured that I’ll be firing up the DVR to get my political fix via Rachel Maddow and find out if DEADLIEST CATCH’s Captain Keith has managed to stuff his tanks with opilio crabs. But for one more day, I’m going to allow myself to pretend that if I was never able to watch television again, I’d manage to survive… even if just typing those words caused my entire body to twitch uncontrollably.
Richard M. Simms is the executive editor of Soaps In Depth Magazine and author of Crimes Against Civility. He is also wildly delusional if he thinks he would find a television-free live worth living.