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Someone has to watch the ferns grow

Following My Muse
Robert T. Nanninga
Surf City Times
May 10, 2003


It's nice the talking heads have stopped.

On April 5th, 2003 I sold both of my televisions. Up to that point downtime for me was sitting in front of the idiot box, or whatever you want to call it, and losing myself in the manufactured nothingness that is ‘T.V.' That was how I relaxed, turn on the television and let Paula Zahn brainwash me into a state of concerned consumption. CNN, TNN, CBN, CBS, NBC, ABC, it was all the same. Television was my drug of choice, and by tuning in, I could tune out.

I'm a type "G" personality, always on the go, always busy, with somewhere to be, and something to do. Southern California, in the beginning of the 21st century, hardly allows for anything else. With population at 36 million and growing, staying in the game is a full-time job. So, why not become a couch potato. The Roman Empire provided bread and circuses to keep the masses happy. Nowadays television is the circus, and where the bread is certainly not free the commercials are pretty. I was hooked.

A hyper reality, I raised myself to the rhythm of televised media. My language, my culture base, all tied to prime time television from the Brady Bunch to Operation Shock and Awe. Like a broadcast aquarium I could sit and watch the seasons change behind the anchor desk in Time Square. It just got to be too much. The epiphany came while watching Paula Zahn speak casually, yet coldly, about the bombing of Baghdad. I had to ask myself; who was the bigger fool, the woman in the leopard print blouse or the monkey watching her?

We both know the answer.

"Better than T.V." has now entered my vocabulary. Yesterday while watching the ferns grow, I began to hear the melody of wind chimes worked by the wind. Nice. Beautiful blue sky, scattered clouds, a perfect moment. And then it hit me, had I not sold the televisions this moment would not have been available to me. Instead of watching the ferns I would have been channel surfing between soap operas and cable news.

Trust me on this. "Better than T.V." is the time spent watching hummingbirds and light dance through the garden.

Goodbye Paula Zahn.

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