Yesterday I walked out into the main area of my workplace and mentioned that a new show was going to be on TV that night, a show that I was mildly interested in watching and that would provide some structure for my night. The show was on Bravo, and it was called “Sportskids Moms and Dads.” (In hindsight, I see how pathetic this sounds, and why it was never a fruitful topic of conversation.) One of my coworkers, a woman I consider a friend, said:
“You’re such a TV whore!”
I retreated into my office thoroughly chastened as everyone else laughed ruefully. As I returned I could hear someone mutter, “Dang, that was harsh.” My face turned all kinds of red, and I was surprised at the wave of humiliation and shame that coursed through my body. TV’s not the only thing I do, you know. I read books, magazines, newspapers. I exercise. I can talk about music and film. I’ve done improv, I write some. I’m going to school soon. Yet beyond all of that, I think this woman hit a deeper truth, one I find myself afraid to confront.
But what’s wrong with watching some TV as long as you’re well-rounded? I feel the same ambivalence and guilt about watching television as I think I would if I, say, chewed tobacco regularly. And the damnedest part is that I did watch the show, and it wasn’t even that good.