I was driving along some windy, country roads today through what can only be described as a "rural suburb." My girls had choreography camp this week at their dance school, and the road I normally take was being repaved. I'm one of those people who doesn't wait in traffic. I go around.
On one road, I counted several houses that had satellite dishes in the yards. These weren't the little "dish network" dishes, either. These were those huge, swimming pool-sized monsters (one house had it mounted to their roof of their two-story home, which was a little nerve wracking for me. I mean, those things are big ... and heavy! I could picture it crashing down to the ground - not a pretty image, either).
Back when I as in high school, I lived in a rural community where cable access was not available back in some of the more remote mountain hollows, and satellite dishes were all the rage.
But they're expensive, even by today's standards, the price twenty years ago for a satellite dish was pretty steep. I mean, we're talking thousands of dollars ... thousands. In that community, people didn't always have steady work (coal-mining country), but had a drastically penduluming feast-or-famine lifestyle, and when there was money, it was spent, often extravagantly. During a feast time, people would mortgage their homes for a satellite dish, especially of they didn't have access to cable television. Without one or the other, there was no television reception in many of those areas.
And suddenly, as I was zooming along, it struck me. People mortgaged their homes for television, so that they could watch some ESPN or some HBO or some MTV.
Mortgaged. Their homes.
What kind of society do we live in where it's okay to spend a month's pay for a television?
At that moment, as I was zooming along, it just seemed incredibly sad that that's who we are, and that it is acceptable, and even encouraged, to spend [fill in blank with something valuable that is wasted, i.e. time, money ... brain cells] on something as non-essential (and not terribly interesting or enlightening, either - with a very few exceptions - but none of which I'd spend thousands of dollars to see) as television.
Very sad, indeed.