Five Days Without Television

I recently read an online complaint by a parent waiting for the cable guy to show up and fix a broken connection.

“I scheduled the day off of work as I have three kids and 5 days without TV makes for a crazy household.”

I helped raise 5 kids. We had a TV in the house but it was turned on so rarely that I can’t recall in what room it was, what size or brand it was, or even if it was black and white or color.

No one went crazy. Everyone, including the parents, survived without a single incident of insanity (except for the Saturday morning one of the kids let a door-to-door missionary into the house.)

When bored, they played, talked or argued with each other. When curious or needing entertainment, every single room in the large house, including the main bathroom – ESPECIALLY the main bathroom – had at least one wall full of books from floor to ceiling

Not one book was off-limits. The only censorship was their own lack of interest. If they were not curious about the content of a certain book, they did not read it. It was a rare book that was not opened and skimmed at least once.

There were books of all kinds. Books filled with explicit texts and images of things that every kid in the world wants to know, such as:

  • how babies are made
  • how to avoid making babies
  • genitalia of the opposite sex,
  • how to do sex,
  • what is sex like,
  • how to get sex,
  • how to avoid sex,
  • what are sexually transmitted diseases,
  • how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases,
  • how to cure sexually transmitted diseases,
  • and plain old sex

Television can’t compete with that, can it?

Of course, in the course of looking for books about sex, they encountered books that included topics and authors such as:

  • the bible
  • the koran
  • the rubiyat
  • the collected and annotated works of Shakespeare
  • Hemmingway
  • Fitzgerald
  • Steinbeck
  • Ghandi
  • Lincoln
  • t s eliot
  • Edna St Vincent Millay
  • Tom Wolfe
  • Vonnegut
  • Heinlein
  • Hersey’s Chocolate Official Recipe Book
  • The Farmer’s Almanac
  • Annual Baseball Stats

and few thousand more.

OK, I admit it was missing a few books, such as anything by Hitler or Ron Hubbard or Marquis De Sade. “Comic” books (few of which I found to be comic) were neither banned nor encouraged.

Each child had a library card from the PL three blocks away and permission to order anything from the main library downtown.

Of the five, three have advanced degrees. One is a partner in a major law firm and personally is the litigator for some of the largest companies in the world. Another manages a home nursing company in a major city. One is a professional musician who performs almost every day. One is a geologist for a respected consulting firm and one is a software programmer whose work is used by millions of businesses and their customers.

I do admit at least one serious failure. One is a Republican.

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