Watching TV a poor man’s game

I am not wealthy. This has always distressed me a great deal, but at least I finally know why.

The short and simple answer is I’m just not doing it right.

Recently I read an article that listed nine things the wealthy do every day, such as setting goals and keeping calm.

Unfortunately, about the only goal I set every day is to keep calm, but I rarely succeed.

Still, my failure to set goals is hardly the main reason for my lack of material wealth. That would be television.

According to the article, one thing the wealthy do every day is not watch television. For some strange reason rich folks view watching reruns of “NCIS” or four episodes of “Love It or List It” back to back as a waste of time.

Instead, they use the time we poor folk spend watching TV to educate themselves by reading or taking online classes or inventing things.

Can you imagine? What’s the point of being rich if you can’t watch “Jeopardy” every night or never know the real “Behind the Music” story of Mötley Crüe?

However, recent events have me thinking the wealthy might be on to something. Lately, I have been wasting way too much time with television. Not actually watching it, mind you, just trying to get the darned thing to work.

Back when a young Warren Buffett was already not watching it, television was fairly simple. You had a set, a few local channels and a pair of rabbit ears.

For me and a lot of my fellow baby boomers, our first job (unpaid) was rabbit ear adjustment technician. It was our job to wrap the tin foil on the antenna ears correctly and position them just so. Sometimes this also involved maintaining physical contact with the antenna until “Gunsmoke” was over.

But those days are gone. Today, though some folks still use an antenna, most pay for cable or satellite or internet streaming.

Over the years I’ve used just about every available mode of TV signal delivery. Currently we have one TV connected to a wired box of some sort and two others connected to wireless boxes. I don’t claim to understand it.

Except for the rare, brief loss of signal, this system has worked well. However, for what we pay each month, we could probably hire our own rabbit ear adjustment technician.

We used to have five TVs and five boxes. Recently we decided we need only three. That’s when the fun started.

When Brenda called for instructions for returning two of our five boxes, she was told they had detected a problem on our line, which was most likely causing the occasional loss of signal. They offered to send a technician within the next two hours.

He showed up three hours later and was there for another two hours. He replaced some of the hardware, ran new wiring and moved the location of one of the boxes. We were back in business.

But two weeks later, when Brenda turned on the TV in our bedroom for the first time since his visit, an error message said it wasn’t connected to our network. After about an hour on the phone with a customer service rep, that TV was reconnected, and we were back in business.

But only long enough for me to walk from the bedroom to the living room, where the TV there was now displaying the same error message. It seems fixing the box in the bedroom messed up the box in the living room.

After yet another hour on the phone with a service rep, all TVs were operational, and we were free to waste our time in any of three locations.

“Man,” I said to Brenda after the dust settled, “that’s a lot of trouble just to watch TV.” She agreed.

In fact, it would almost be easier to not watch TV. But then we’d just get wealthy, and that has its own set of problems, so probably not.

Doug Showalter can be reached at 379-5625 or