Today is officially “Washington’s Birthday” and I have the day off as does much of the country. A lot of people will be out spending money at “Presidents Day” sales. Not me. I could work around the house, but then the yard is full of snow, and working on a day off doesn’t really make it a day off, now does it?
What I’ve been doing all weekend is watching TV. We’ve gone through Season 2 of “Sons of Anarchy”, Season 3 and most of Season 4 of “Nip Tuck”, several movies; “1492,” “Letters to Juliet,” “Social Network,”to name a few, and a number of shows we TiVo’d during the week. I think that officially makes me a “Couch Potato” by all possible definitions. The Nielson Co., the television information and measurement group, said that we couch potatoes watched an average of 34 hours of TV a week in 2010. I think I busted that number. I was probably an outlier in that data set.
The term “Couch Potato”, which became a registered trademark, has a distinct birthday in the English Language. It was July 15, 1976 when the phrase was first uttered on a phone interview by Tom Iacino, a member of a fad group that opposed exercise and healthy diet. They called themselves the “Boob Tubers”. “Tubers” led to potato and the couch was where we spent most of the vegetative time. There have been T-shirts, dolls, magazines, and a book, “Dr. Spudd’s Etiquette for the Couch Potato.” I didn’t know there was couch potato etiquette.
Although I’m not particularly proud of the amount of television I watch, it’s what I do for entertainment. Going out to a movie costs you $40 today, and you have to put up with heads and talkers. I spend over $100 a month for television programming with hundreds of channels that never seem to have anything on to watch, but I can fast forward, reverse and pause LIVE television. Can’t do that at the movies.
Growing up, we had three channels and a UHF station, if you were lucky and the tin foil on the rabbit ears worked. There always seemed to be something on that our parents wouldn’t let us watch. The “Barbara Stanwyk Show” was too “racy” for us kids and it came on at 9 o:clock. I can still hear the music in my head that we heard walking up the stairs to bed. TV now has channels for whatever our specific interests might be, “Home and Garden Network, ” “History Channel,” “Biography Channel,” “NFL Network,” I could go on and on.
The other day, a co-worker said she didn’t own a television. I was shocked. In fact I offered her one of the six I have in my house. Our main viewing platform is a 60″ HDTV with a surround sound system that can blow the windows out of the house. Full theater experience. I have a movie collection in the hundreds, and most of them watched only once, but I have them in case there’s nothing to watch on TV tonight.