I received this rather annoying email yesterday from my school district. It was part of a Spring Wellness Update email, most of which I found less grating. Attached to the email was one particular flyer and it was this particular piece of the puzzle that made me groan audibly.... So prepare yourselves because it's almost "TV Turnoff Week!" And in place of numbing the pain of my life's eternal state of existential crisis, I received a list of 65 things to do instead of watching TV. Among all the civilized, social, and inspiring ideas were the following: clean out the garage; wash your car; organize photos in albums (specifically NOT online); organize your finances; take your broken appliances to the recycling center; plan all of your outfits for the week; organize, declutter, and purge your child's toy collection; clean out your medicine cabinet; peruse the grocery store aisles; and create an emergency preparedness kit... seriously, I kid not... create an emergency preparedness kit... oh wait! How could I forget! Listen to a book on tape... NOT, heaven forbid, actually READ a book...
While my brain was 9% occupied with the notion of planning my next week's outfits, I pondered over how these are many (but not certainly all) of the things that I turn on the TV to avoid doing/thinking about/knowing the existence of. And so, as I still worked in the back of my mind on those outfits, another 3% of my brain set to work on a new list... a list of 65 things to do WHILE watching TV... so here you go... and please add at your leisure... for why stop at 65? I'm sure that, together, we could think of hundreds... and of course, that is one of my purposes here... to nudge you at the start of life's important journeys, like the mother bird gently drop-kicking her chicks out of the nest, privately hoping for just one night alone with papi... well, that's only if he is a bird of the feather that mates for life like swans or owls or eagles or pigeons... but if she's a pigeon she may have other things on her mind... like the statue in the park.
65 THINGS TO DO WHILE OTHERWISE ENGAGED (with the wonderfully non-committal radiowave, satellite, or digital signal receiver in your family room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, car, handheld telephone/computer device, all of the above, etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum)
1. Turn off the sound and make up your own Snooki dialogue. This particular activity promises to make you feel smarter, more creative, and in general, better about who you are and where your life is not going.
2. Call a friend.
3. Phone a friend. This, of course, is a very different option than #2 and would relate to the sort of mindless, though seemingly momentous, trivia show you are watching at the moment. Friends always know what we don't. Friends make us feel smarter. Or dumber. Hmmmm. Maybe forget number 3.
4. Paint your nails. I'm thinking this one works mostly for the females out there, though who doesn't love a guy who dares to wear goth-black nail polish with moxie... though he most certainly wouldn't use the word moxie. Does anyone?
5. Try to figure out the last time you heard someone use the word moxie.
6. Try on some of those outfits you have been planning for the upcoming week. It's always better to know ahead of time that the sequin mini is a bit too short (and frankly totally inappropriate!) for work rather than at 5am in the morning when you then have to dump half your closet on the floor in the process of remembering that you have absolutely nothing to wear.
7. Check email, surf the net, go through old texts, or do anything involving your phone because, as we all know, if it takes 3% of your brain to watch TV and another 6% to check email, then you are left with a solid 1% to do something else.
8. Look up how much of the brain humans actually use. In doing so, you may discover that it is a myth that we only use 10% of our brains. I remain unconvinced... of the truth... rather of the myth that the myth is a myth. Try to use a HUGE percentage of your brain to figure out the myth of your brain. Damn. Still left with much hungry, spongy gray matter.
9. Organize your finances, organize your photos, clean out your medicine cabinet, and create an emergency preparedness kit. The TV will keep you company. Perhaps the TV will take your mind off of the fact that you are preparing for a massive natural disaster, a large-scale terrorist attack, a nuclear event, an outbreak of plague, or a giant meteor strike.
11. Start the dishwasher. Did you really forget? Again? He/she/it... your significant other is going to be furious! Shoot. Hold on a sec...
12. Ponder the phrase "significant other." Perhaps yours is the TV. How fitting!
13. Ponder the implication of the phrase "significant other"... that we also have insignificant others.
14. Make a list of all of the insignificant others you may want to "declutter" from your life.
15. Make a fluffernutter. (More on this in an upcoming Tomorrow's Theme posting.)
16. Figure out what marshmallow actually is. Or at least think about it. This one may actually take a double digit brain percentage. (More on this in an upcoming Tomorrow's Theme posting... the marshmallow... not the brain stuff.)
17. Be patient! About the marshmallow thing. About other stuff, be impatient. And start changing channels a lot... especially to skip over Bob's Furniture ads (he's MY Bob!) and luxury car ads that only remind you of what you can't afford, don't have, will never be or look like. Come on! TV is here to make you feel better about your inadequacies!
18. Close your eyes.
19. Open your eyes.
20. Close and reopen your eyes a bunch of times. This is sometimes technically called "nodding off," but who wants to get into technicalities when you are relaxing and watching TV.
21. See how many push-ups you can do. Come on. It better be more than 10 or I am banning you from awareness of tomorrow's theme... and then where will you be?
22. Speaking of the gym... why the heck are you watching TV??
23. Watch TV at the gym. Geez, much more efficient. We can all multitask, can't we?
24. Write down the word multitask and realize how weird it looks. Or maybe that's just me.
25. Back to the outfits. What are you wearing next Monday? Call a friend and make sure there is no overlap. Bitch stole my look!
26. I forgot to mention one of the gems from the Wellness list... "create a dream board..." Create a dream board. Or better yet, fall asleep and just have actual dreams.
27. Try to interpret your own dreams. Face the fact that you really did have the Oedipal dream last night and it was oh-so-disturbing. Remember, interpreting your own dreams is much better than going to a professional. This way, you can still be the super-enhanced, non-couch potato, dream board-creating you that you've always known you are...and clearly dream about. I mean that just proves it.
28. Man! How did they come up with 65 freakin' things! I think I watch too much TV.
29. Dust the TV. Cleaner TV, better image, more ease of mind-numbing.
30. Forgot to mention about the dishwasher... make sure you only start it if you have one of those super quiet types. You wouldn't want any distractions from your main distraction.
31. Actually watch TV. Engage. Lose yourself in the rose ceremony, the streaked tans, the guest appearance of Joe Jonas on Idol. Come on. Gleek out! Tune in to Tosh.0 and make mental note of "Things you should never run into a room and yell." I mean there is some critical info here! My friend just made that "snap into a slim jim" mistake at a gay club the other night.
32. Grade papers. This only applies to teachers, although you could probably pretty easily find a teacher who is a neighbor of yours and grade some of his papers. I hate math teachers. Damn scantron.
33. Invent a machine to grade critical essays that works like a scantron.
34. Invent a time machine for that matter.
35. Figure out the path to world peace.
36. Go online and watch clips of pageant contestants answering each, every, and ANY open response question by saying "I want world peace" and smiling... a lot. "I personally believe that some Americans out there don't have maps..." (Thank you, Miss South Carolina.)
37. Get out a map and locate all of the places you want to go when you are not watching TV.
38. Close your eyes again. All of your 600+ channels just got really boring. There is absolutely nothing on!
39. Reactivate your Netflix account.
40. Peruse through all of the movies on your On Demand movie list and premium channel list.
41. Deactivate your reactivated Netflix account.
42. Speaking of HBO, write a letter... or better yet an email... to HBO execs about the removal of "Bored to Death" from On Demand. I totally missed the end of Season 2!
44. Plan a trip to Brooklyn. We all need to get cooler.
45. Go back to your outfits and figure out what you have that could be considered "hipster."
46. Go online and buy something "hipster"... preferably silver skinny jeans and geek glasses (if male) and aviator shades and a crocheted sweater (if female). Also practice affected slouching and generally looking semi-annoyed with most everyone.
47. Delete insignificant others from your phone. (See #14)
48. Ice sore limbs. You were at the gym, remember?
49. Turn to the channels on your TV that broadcast music. Get up and dance around the room. Maybe even bump and grind a bit to some mad good top 40 hits. Go Ke$ha! Also a good idea because you probably need the exercise. I mean you were watching TV while at the gym so...
50. Make a list of all the things you have learned on the Discovery Channel that you would never have learned by ACTUALLY being out in nature... like if you were to talk a walk in the woods rather than watch TV, for example.
51. Have sex. Did it really take me 50 other suggestions before I got to this one? Did I mention that I watch too much TV?
52. Now watch some food porn. Enough said.
53. Make another fluffernutter. Clearly, you just earned it.
54. If you are alone, living a pathetically solitary existence, then skip 51-53 and instead repeat your favorite solitary activity.... 3 times.
55. Catch up on the news through your favorite disaster-ridden or incredibly bias (in your direction of course) news channel. Or just watch the channel with the hottest newscasters. And turn the sound off.
56. Learn a new language. Telenovas are a great way to learn and participate in Hispanic culture. You will quickly learn important phrases like "Tienes que luchar por tu amor!" (You are going to have to fight for your love!), "Eres a ruín!" (You are a big fat disaster), and "A tu hermana Eva se la comieran los crocodrilos" (The crocodiles ate your sister Eva.)
57. Clean your glasses. It's really important that you can view Charlie Sheen's expression during his rants more clearly.
58. Call your opthamologist and make an appointment because you clearly need glasses.
59. Call your mother. Really? Has it been that long? And do I need to be the one to tell you? Tisk tisk.
60. Put your feet up.
61. Lay your head back.
62. Lay your head on the shoulder of your loved one snuggling next to you.
63. Cuddle in the pure silence of TV droning. Enjoy the fact that it is not necessary to discuss anything.
64. Get on match.com and find a loved one... really?
65. I think there is actually an On Demand Local Listing sorta thing where you can find available singles in your area through your TV. See how useful that damn thing can be?
66. Overachieve and write a list of 66 things to do while watching TV... while you are watching TV... because those of us who watch can definitely outdo those of us who turn off. Puh-leeze!