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Instagram On Channel 3

January 21, 2020

We lived close to each other. Not “Country Song” close. But, about 30 miles apart. My lovely wife and I met each other as teenagers. We were too far apart in age to date, but we were definitely interested in each other.

I worked in a TV store, as a delivery guy and her family didn’t own a TV. No, I didn’t secretely deliver one. But, I did think about how much she was missing out on. She missed the last episode of M*A*S*H, for example. Even my friend Kevin who didn’t have a TV came over to my house to watch it.

People without a TV missed all the sporting events. They missed cultural events taht were televised. My family lived in front of the TV. We followed virtually every sport. Not just because my dad was a professional gambler and sometimes had money on the game. We had HBO back when it was first launched. . .NO COMMERCIALS! We had MTV back when it played music videos.

I was convinced that TV, or lack of TV deprived a person of important cultural references and norms. (Yeah, I was a teenager.) And my lovely wife was one of the deprived.

It was that awkward moment when the nurse is prepping you for a medical procedure and you talk just to fill up the empty space.

Yeah, my son doesn’t even have social media. He just says, “I’m not interested.”

I thought, “Wow, that kid is going to miss out on so much. Like important cultural references and norms. . .” And then I remembered.

My lovely wife and I had a TV, or rather cable TV, for years. It wasn’t something we thought about much. We had it just like we had electricity, water and garbage service. (Okay, maybe a little too much like garbage service at times.)

Anyway, about 20 years ago we decided to cut the cord. It was financial reasons at first. But, then we figured out that we didn’t miss it. Oh sure, we missed watching the Olympics or the World Series. But, we were able to turn the service on for just those events and then turn it off.

My kids grew up without network television. We had plenty of VHS tapes and later DVDs, but no network service. When my second oldest daughter went to college she ordered cable. She called home after her first month or so.

What is it with commercials? They are SO boring and you can’t skip through them!

Welcome to network TV, sweetie.

We still don’t have cable TV. We have some services like Amazon Prime, ESPN+ and Disney+. But, we do have social media. I have this blog and the platforms listed in the signature block. My kids are active mostly on Snapchat and Instagram.

I thought about that nurse’s son. Would he be culturally or socially stunted if he doesn’t participate in social media? I don’t know, but I don’t think so.

My lovely wife hasn’t suffered any ill affects of not getting to watch Saturday morning cartoons, or watch Star Trek:The Next Generation or Knight Rider, or Magnum P.I. (And now we have those on DVD or Amazon Prime.)

Oh, and my friend Kevin? The one who had to come to my house to watch the final episode of M*A*S*H because his family didn’t have a TV? He’s now head of a major television studio. He makes the decisions on what series get greenlit. (Mad Men was one of his.)

So, I would imagine her son will do just fine without a Twitter handle or an Insta account or a Facebook page. Who knows years from now he may be running a social media company.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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