I did it. I cut the umbilical that had me tethered to a high speed network of terrible content and an almost continuous loop of Evan Almighty. I am currently stealing $150 from Time Warner every single month. Or at least it feels that way. It feels as though I should be giving them too much money for not enough quality simply because I’ve always done it.
This marks the first time in my life that I’ve been without cable. Ever since those days when I’d find myself sitting inches from the TV so I could flip channels with the manual rotary dial on the cable box (yes, I’m that old), I had an innate desire to have access to hundreds of channels – whether there was anything good on or not.
By the time I moved out on my own, cable represented a basic human right like food and democracy. No way would I ever deign to inhabit an apartment in the big city without a direct line to reruns of Night Court and Discovery Channel documentaries about American Standard urinals.
In economic times such as these, you’d be forgiven for assuming that my motives were based on the fiscal realities of my now least favorite utility. But you’d be wrong. My reasons are much less responsible than that. I am, in fact, simply sick and tired of throwing good money after bad into the hands of those who don’t care a wit about anything but maintaining the status-quo. And while it’s true that there are those cable companies who are prepared to innovate, providing a wonderful array of services and entertainment for one low, low price, mine wasn’t one of them. And so I kicked them to the curb.
Entertainment at Casa de Jacoby
My wife, Cora, and I never watched a ton of TV. We’re interested in lots of entertaining things. We read, we watch movies, we listen to music. But when we were in the mood to be sucked into the boob-tube, we offered ourselves unreservedly to the gods of programming, inviting them to do with our suicidal brain cells as they wished for as long as it took to sate our bloated appetites for comforting crap.
When we were so moved, we’d plop down on the couch and find something entertaining. Often times that entertainment would come from the DVR part of our cable package. I see now that this was the beginning of the end, a signal that entertainment could be had according to our schedule, not someone else’s.
Shortly after that, we started streaming from our new Roku that carried a one-time fee two-thirds that of the monthly cable bill. Netflix, despite the best efforts of their web designers or lack thereof, filled in a lot of blanks with streaming content and the coasters that would arrive via red envelope now and then.
Next came Amazon for the occasional movie, Hulu for the occasional episode of 30 Rock and YouTube for the occasional video of a sneezing panda or a cat in the death grip of two Granny Smith apples. Pretty soon, the cable box became the worlds most expensive digital clock, the value of which I only realized – and subsequently mourned the loss of – once we had returned it to its rightful owner.
Night after night, Cora and I would search in vain for something halfway decent to entertain us. And night after night we would end up streaming our desired content on-demand or popping a disc into the DVD player. Day after day a festering nag plagued my subconscious, planting tiny seeds of doubt that would grow into an Arab Spring of revolt against the vicious dictator who sought to subjugate my down time and exact $150 a month for the favor.
And so, after much internal strife, I incited a come-to-Jesus discussion with Cora, planned a coup d’etat against the powers that be, and sent my cable box hurtling past my ambivalent cats, out the window and down the street. Ironically, we forgot to give back the remote.
I doubt anyone will notice.
So, how do I feel after the amputation? Have I adjusted to this new life? Am I fulfilled and renewed or am I a broken shell of a man, destitute by his lack of Jersey Shore and Colgate commercials?
I feel fine. I don’t watch any less TV. Not one bit. The only difference is that the TV is hooked up to my Roku, Wii, laptop and DVD player. And I’m a better man for it. I watch what I want to watch when I want to watch it. Content creators still get my money. Advertisers still get my attention. It is simply a more even exchange now – just as it should be.
I will say, it took a while to find the right clock to replace the one on that cable box. Which gives me an idea for clocks shaped like cable boxes. Perhaps that’s Rain’s next product. You never know.