Breaking does a body good

By Evelyn Richardson - Here and There

There’s just one thing wrong with public television—no commercial breaks.

Now, I know that having no commercials is a strong drawing card for PBS. Add the worthwhile programming it offers, and it is clearly my choice for watching.

But when I watch that channel, my work doesn’t get done. The continuous program engages my interest and I do not want to leave the set for fear I will miss something important.

I use commercial time to check on bread that is rising or a boiling pot. The quality of my cooking has been compromised as I indulged in history, science or the tour of country far away.

Thoughts that come to me as I am watching TV can be handled during the next commercial break: get food from the freezer to thaw for the upcoming meal; jot down a needed item on the shopping list; make a quick phone call. By the time a documentary ends, my thought is long gone—perhaps leading to all kinds of problems because I did not remember to do what I intended.

A lot of housework can be accomplished during commercials. With a dusting wand in hand, I can cover the house over the course of an hour and not miss a thing being shown on the screen. Pick-ups, straightening, and even cleaning a streaked storm door fit well into one of these time periods.

With disciplined concentration I can even write a check for the light bill that should go in the mail.

When would I fix a snack to nibble on through the rest of a program if there were not an early break for preparation?

I can skim through an entire new magazine during commercials and turn down the corner of pages that I want to come back to and read later when the TV is off.

It helps to have already brushed my teeth when bedtime comes, and I can easily work that in, floss, too.

Perhaps most important, my physical condition suffers because of public television. I don’t get up from my chair as often and joints grow stiffer.

Neither do I see advertisement of lifesaving and life-insuring products, creams to restore youth and hundreds of ways to make life better at every stage of the game.

I also feel bad about not making myself more available as an audience for the sponsors who pay big bucks to try to convince me to buy what they have to sell; I’m not supporting the free enterprise system that is so vital to our country’s existence.

I’d better quit this train of thought. First thing you know I will have talked myself out of watching a wholesome, informative presentation that I don’t want to miss.

By Evelyn Richardson

Here and There

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