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Good-Bye Cable…Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Dear Cable,

After a romance that has lasted thirty years (thirty good years), I’m afraid it’s time to say good-bye.

Please don’t take this personally, it isn’t you, it’s me. For the last few years I’ve felt like I was changing, growing distant from you, even becoming a little bored with all that you had to offer.

300 channels and I was no longer moved by any of your offerings. Oh sure, I would still get a little excited every afternoon around four when Law & Order was on but then, as I was watching Sam Waterston stand before a jury and speak so eloquently about injustice, it would dawn on me that L&O was on for about twenty years and yet TNT only showed the same twelve episodes day after day.

And then I would become depressed (but I still watched, oh dear god, I still watched).

Oh Cable, remember how it used to be when we first came into each other’s life?

 I was about seven years old and I begged my mother to have you installed in our house because I had found out that there was going to be a channel that only played music videos. She agreed (probably because she was tired of only watching ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS) and, as a surprise, she also included The Disney Channel (which was a pay channel at that time) for my brother and I and HBO (which was strictly for her).

The day you were installed was like Hanukkah, Christmas, and my Birthday all wrapped up in a large ergonomically incorrect remote control. Mom, my brother and I all spent that day going through the thirty channels, overwhelmed by all the shows that were available to us and, as our eyes glazed over from the glare of basic cable and our two pay stations, I fell in love for the very first time.

That night, when midnight approached, I sat before the 500lbs console  in a prayer-like pose (on my knees, rocking back-and-forth in ecstasy) as MTV showed the very first video ever and was transformed by the availability of media.

My world exploded and, as The Buggles sang about Video Killing the Radio Star (and how apropos was that lament?), my mind expanded as if I was eating a bag of hallucinogenic mushrooms and tripping the cable fantastic.

So many things to watch, so limited by the puny amount of hours in the day.

And so, as my obsession with you grew, so did my truancy from school.

How many days of education did I miss in my life due to the fact that You Can’t Do That On Television was on? How many tests did I blow off due to re-runs of Not Necessarily the News (shown on HBO, the channel I wasn’t supposed to watch but did anyway)? How many times did I feign diarrhea just so I could watch CNN, The Terry Fox Story, Fraggle Rock, Lifetime television movies, and, of course, MTV?

Oh hundreds…

Sweet Cable, those memories are precious but memories are not enough to sustain a relationship that has grown stale and yes, I must admit it, costly.

Even though, as the years went on and I watched you less and less, I stayed with you out of loyalty and I thought it would be forever, but then something happened, something I didn’t foresee.

Netfix dammit!

Oh she was a pretty young thing, dressed all in red. She would even come straight to my door, no work on my part (other than losing days setting up the perfect cue of films to be sent to me). It was practically Caligulan.

So I compromised. I got rid of all the pay stations with you and stayed with extended Basic while getting all my movies from the Lady in Red.

But she was a succubus I tell you, she whispered in my ear “Why pay hundreds of dollars for cable when for fewer than fifteen you can stream video right to your television? Thousands of movies, hundreds of television shows…come to me, leave cable for me”.

And I was tempted, oh how I was tempted, but I stayed on…I stayed for you.

After-all, Netflix didn’t have the newest episodes of Bones right?

But then the Hulu Plus icon showed up on my Playstation 3 and I was lost in a three-way of biblical proportions.

And so, with a heavy heart, I have to say good-bye to you, to our life together and move on.

And I know that this may seem like a mid-life crisis, that I’m choosing a younger version of you but let’s face it, television evolved and you have not and I need to be able to watch Louie season 1 even when I am sitting at the DMV.

But don’t worry, while I may not have cable, I will taste you every once in a while.

I have my father-in-law’s HBO Go’s password and I’m not afraid to use it.

With Love and Sadness,


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