The Vast Wasteland

They don’t call it the “Boob Tube” for nothing . . .


A month or so ago I woke and realized my TV had been ON all night, and also knew why I’d had nightmares. Not the first time either, and so I began watching my use of TV and at least, started turning the dang thing OFF before going to sleep. .

First thing I noticed,  after I’d been out shopping or such, was that when I walked back into my home, before even putting down my purse, I turned on the TV. Didn’t know what was ‘on’, didn’t know what was coming ‘on’, and didn’t even stop to note what came ‘on’. No, I just automatically clicked the button and went on my way.

TV, I found, had become a habit. I also discovered something else. I had walked into my home happy, relaxed, even humming to myself, which is a good clue to anyone’s inner mood.

But within 10 minutes, I wasn’t happy, wasn’t humming, but felt depressed and inwardly saying, ” War, terror, and crime are everywhere, Even right here in this valley, people do awful things. Life is not good.”

I wasn’t watching or even listening to what was on TV, and half the time, was in another part of the house, but it was ON, and I was allowing whatever was there, to infiltrate my mind. The dire tone of the speaking voices, if not their actual words.

You know the reason of my mood change, too, for in those ten minutes I had allowed the outside TV world to change my inner world. I had allowed that voice reporting the news, to take away my joy.

So I walked back to the Toob, bravely turned it OFF and began to get myself back to the ‘Ethel’ mood. And, for one entire month I didn’t turn it ON. Not once. And it was good.

And no, I don’t live or even want to live in a vacuum. I want to know what’s going on in the world, and if watching TV could help the Ukraine situation, or any of the emotionally troubled people who kill others, I would watch TV 24 hours a day. But my watching doesn’t have one bit of influence on anyone, or anything, except me.   And it does change me, my day, my inner mood, my inner joy, and not for the better, either.

Now, if it were my job to meet with Obama and world leaders each day, then it would be my job to know what was going on each moment, and I’d do it. But that job is for Obama and his Aides, not mine, and we all know that they don’t get their info from TV.

So, I asked myself, what’s the use of going around feeling depressed over something I can’t help, change or control???

And I know what some of you are going to say, for I’ve said it, too. “Oh, but I keep it on Channel 7, 9 or 11 and they have great programs”. And, most of the time they do.

But what I’ve found is that, not too long ago, I spent much time, sitting like a statue watching others play, work, love, sing, study and worship instead of Ethel playing, working, loving, singing, studying and worshiping. I had been like a blob, letting someone else do ‘my stuff’, for me. Did I think osmosis would do the trick???

So what have I done? Well, I’ve found myself singing more, even some on the songs I remember Mom once sang. Nice. And I found myself with a sense of detachment when others moan about Ukraine, Afghanistan, and all the Middle East unrest. I’ve studied more, brought out DVDs that I haven’t touched for a long time, and listened to the old Irish ballads that I love, Johnny Cash, Tennessee Ernie Ford, et al, and it’s been great.

I found that the more involved Ethel became, the better Ethel felt. Far better than listening to someone else do it. And my private meditations are far better, for Ethel, than hearing someone else’s prayers and preaching on TV. I know they’re wonderful, but it’s me, Ethel, that I’m working on, and my own private prayers do the most  for me.

Yes, the day came when I actually began looking to see ‘what’s on’ TV, but not just turning it on without making a conscious choice. It’s becoming fun. At least for me, Ethel, that is.   See ya next week.



2 thoughts on “The Vast Wasteland

  1. Love it! We have faced the same problem – and have brought back Johnnie Cash, etc. Had grandchildren here this past week and they are lost without their phones or IPads… sad. They even text each other in the same room…
    Keep writing.

    • Thanks, Marie. I value your judgement. Hope you like the book I gave you. You’re in it, more than once. That’s what you get for being descendents of “Our Road” people. I only married into the bunch. Love e.b.

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