My Wife Is Going to Eat My Brains

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My New Year's resolution was to cut cable to the bare minimum, and I did it just in time for the biggest television event of the season. I am not talking about the National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama, going on as I write this, with Alabama up 28-0 at half time. I am talking about the new season of "The Walking Dead" on AMC, another casualty of my resolve.

A resolution should hurt to do some good, and this one looks very promising. My wife has not spoken to me in two days. She sets the television to Channel 602, ESPN, just to show the "You are not subscribed to this channel" message. Taunting. This is only a taste of what I am in for if I don't wimp out by February, assuming we stay married. She and her brother in Mississippi talk about zombies the way football fans talk about Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. Zombies must be watched in real time, not on tape. They're zombies. They deserve that.

Part of me thinks I would have been better off resolving to do something fantasy-like, such as running a four-minute (or 10-minute) mile, or wimpy, like losing five pounds. Part of me thinks my wife is going to eat my brains if I do not recant and get right with ATT-U-verse by February and re-up for the 200-channel package. And a tiny part of me thinks, come on, be a man, stay the course for at least a month and see what comes of it. No pain no gain. These are the times that try men's souls. There are books to be read, friends to visit, places to go, blah blah blah.

Cable, of course, is a huge scam, run by ESPN, which is gobbling up all the major sports events, with another 150 channels of junk — preachers, reruns, foodies, Ultimate Fighting, and screaming commentators thrown in as part of the "bargain." Screw it, I said, and save $53 a month in the bargain. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

If you cancel a newspaper or magazine subscription, they keep it coming for days, weeks, even months. And then they beseech you to renew your subscription at a lower rate. Not so cable. They cut you off one milli-second after your subscription runs out. I bet if I change my mind I will get a ten-minute phone tree, an operator in Bangalore named Tim, and a special offer to reinstate my old channels package at the special price $20 a month higher than the old price, plus a reconnection fee.

Courage, man, courage. I watched the first half of the football game at Jack Magoo's sports bar on Broad, had a very good cheeseburger and two Fat Tires, and met an old acquaintance from Meridian, Mississippi who told me a touching story about meeting a Mississippi Miss America 50 years ago at the Neshoba County Fair when he was eight years old and she patted him on the head, and when he ran into her at a Memphis art gallery opening a couple years ago he told her the story and, God bless her, she did not tell him he was crazy but smiled and said "thank you". You can't make this stuff up, and you can't get it on cable.

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