Cable TV is a lot like heroin. Okay, maybe that's a little strong, especially since I am not an expert on heroin, but it's my metaphor and I beg your indulgence. For a limited time you can receive more channels than you could possibly hope to have time to enjoy for the low, low introductory price of just $29.95 a month. That's less than a dollar a day, and that seems like a bargain in a world that expects you to pay ten dollars for a ticket to see "The Simpsons Movie". And that's when you start to notice that the introductory period has passed and you find yourself craving a peek at the endless variety that is offered: A channel devoted to high school football, another for news from Korea. Bruce Springsteen was aiming low when he wrote a song called "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)".
Freedom of choice is what I've got, as DEVO would point out. And that goes for paying the bill too. Now my cable company, Comca$t, wants me to pay more for the channels that I was getting when I signed up. I was expecting to pay more after my initial dalliance with the heady world of digital cable, and I had tensed myself for this eventuality. What I hadn't expected was that the NFL Network would become an additional fee on top of what I had already been paying. Suddenly I was not only paying more for what I was watching, but I was watching less.
There are plenty of alternatives, Direct TV was happy to take my call and tell me about all the free and inexpensive ways that they could aid me in watching television. As I listened, rapt with attention, a little voice in my head said, "Ask about what happens in four months." I did. And it turns out that they would end up charging me almost exactly what Comca$t is charging me now, and if I really loved all the cool stuff that I had been watching for "free" for those first four months - let's just say there is no free TV.
I could buy a pair of rabbit ear antennae and try to pull down some of that juicy new high definition video for the cost of a bunch of extra tin foil and the time it would take to get my son to stand just so the picture would be perfect when his right hand is on the window sill and his left is on the tip of the antenna. Or I could go read a book.