Monday, July 7, 2008


My name is Jeremy Helligar, and I'm a TV addict. I'm not sure how it happened. I spent my first four years in New York City without a television set. (In college, my roommates always provided the TV, and I had a tiny black-and-white set that my mother bought for me before I began my freshman year at the University of Florida.) Normally, my memory serves me far too well, but I'm a little fuzzy on what exactly I did for home entertainment back then. I'm sure it involved a lot of reading and listening to music. And of course, being young and on my own in the big metropolis, I spent a lot of time exploring the exciting, slightly dangerous and still-grimy-east-of-Union-Square Manhattan of the early 1990s that had not yet been ruined by Mayor Rudolph Guliani's Disneyfication and post-Sex and the City gentrification.

Then, in 1995, on my birthday, I took the plunge. Newly single after the demise of a year-and-a-half relationship, I bought my first television set, a 20-inch Sony, and a VCR (these were pre-DVD times) as birthday gifts to myself. I still remember bringing them home in a cab from Nobody Beats the Wiz electronics store. Eventually, I splurged on cable, and slowly but surely, my TV and I developed a close, unbreakable bond. I even began to sleep with it on (a habit that continues to this day) because I was sure that it would ward off all evil spirits that might attempt to enter my living space.

Two apartments and 11 years later, we were still together--my longest relationship ever. Sure the color was a little off, and the sound wasn't the best, but it was still ticking. When I moved to Buenos Aires, I gave it to my friend Deirdre because I couldn't bear to send it to that cold, dark storage space in Brooklyn with the rest of the belongings that I was leaving behind.

These days, I have a new live-in love, a 25-inch Phillips. We've been together about 14 months now. I bought it to replace the mega-high-tech flat-screen set that I bought when I first moved into my Buenos Aires apartment but was stolen during a home invasion in February of last year (another long story for a future post). Then today, something strange happened. My Phillips started to make strange noises. What the...?! But it's only 14 months old! My old Sony lasted 11 years without so much as an off day. I immediately began to wonder, what will I do if it conks out on me? Sure I have tons of DVDs and a computer and a portable player on which to watch them (not to mention lots of books and magazines waiting to be read), but life wouldn't be the same without my Phillips. I also began to wonder, when did I become such a hopeless TV junkie?

The strange thing is that although I'm thoroughly hooked on the boob tube, I rarely actually watch it. Yes, if I'm home, it's usually on, but I'm most likely doing something else, never quite giving it my undivided attention. In fact, I can't recall the last time I sat for more than five minutes looking at the TV without a book, a magazine or a phone in my hand or a lap top in front of me. As of this very moment, it hasn't made that strange wheezing sound in more than 10 minutes, so maybe my fear is for naught. But maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing if I had to go without (TV, that is) for a little while. It's probably high time for me to form some new bonds around the house.

Here is a video tribute to one of my favorite things.

Basia: "Prime-Time TV"

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