Among other things, my stint in the army was also a three-year hiatus from television.
Three years is a very long time.
A schoolmate rushed into marriage and left a young widow.
(That’s why I broke up with a girl I’d been dating before being drafted and sent off to war.)
Years later, back among the civilians, I sometimes found it quite difficult to follow even casual conversations. Remarks made by friends and family were often puzzling to such an extent that I was sometimes compelled to ask for clarification. Nearly everything they said was punctuated with cryptic in-jokes, punch-lines, catch-phrases and mock impressions of the latest leading characters and stars from the then-popular television programs – programming I’d never been subjected to. (And yes, it is programming in the Pavlovian sense.) In terms of Pop Culture, I’d fallen behind.
Most people’s lives are a hum-drum routine. You get up in the morning, get ready for work – you commute to your job – your job is familiar and boring. When at last you get home, you can hardly wait to turn on the TV. Five days-a-week at least, the talk around the water-cooler is not about what you had for breakfast that morning – that would be boring – but rather, it’s all about what you saw on the TV the previous night. The only thing that breaks up the hum-drum routine of your life is what’s on television. So you parrot the hot topic du jour. You repeat what you’ve heard – and mostly what you’ve heard are propagandist’s slogans.
It is ghastly to me to hear people I care about mindlessly parroting mindless slogans. Slogans like the oxymoronic ‘sexual equality’.
As I’ve said elsewhere, a woman once paid me a rather odd but very flattering compliment. She said talking with me was always interesting because no matter what subject we were conversing about I would always add something to the deliberations that she had never considered or even thought about.
She said: “You have an all-encompassing mind.”
“Only God has an all-encompassing mind. I just don’t watch television.”
While taking a hiatus from the mass media and television especially is recommended, it is also a part of my personal hell that I find myself so out of sync with the rest of humanity that it seems I am, at times, hated by one and all. So be it. Do your own thinking.