My Wii Story

February 8th, 2008

We don’t have a “Wii”.

We have a “Them”.

A “Them” is a “Wii” owned by close neighbors and family members.

The reason we don’t have a “Wii” is to make our children’s lives intolerable.

It seems to be working.

The Country Doctor’s Wife’s Family’s Timeline of Television and Video Gamewhackery .

1991-1995 Newlyweds and New Young Parent Stage.

We owned neither a TV nor a game system. Missed all the great years of “Friends”. Felt superior and smug in our deprivation. I was called once during this period by the Neilsen Ratings people. This is a brief excerpt of the survey.

NRP – How many TVs do you have in your residence?

Me – None

NRP – On average, how many hours a week do you spend watching TV?

Me – Zero

NRP – What are your favorite television shows?

Me – I don’t watch TV

NRP- Do you watch TV more in the morning, afternoon, evening, or none of the above?

Me – Um…that would be none of the above.

NRP – How many hours of TV do you watch in the morning?

Me – Zero

NRP – How many hours of TV do you watch in the afternoon?

Me – Fourteen billion.

NRP – Ma’am?

Me – Zero

NRP – How many hours of TV do you watch in the evenings?

Me – You’ve got to be kidding me.

NRP – Do you spend less than one? One to two? Two to five?

Me – Less than one.

NRP – Do you subscribe to cable television?

Me – Are you for real?

NRP – Is that a no?

Me – Are you a recording or a real person?

NRP – I am a real person

Me – Are you sure?

NRP – Do you subscribe to cable television?

Me – If I said no, would you believe me?

NRP – Please answer yes or no.

Me – Guess

NRP – No.

Me – Bingo!

After almost four years of marriage, I had two small boys and the rising lump on my mid-sectional was raising our suspicions again. I noted how every time we visited my sister April, my oldest son would sit down and watch a movie with his cousin Ellen, for a solid 90 minutes. I was left to care only for his baby brother who spent the first year of his life extremely dissatisfied with everything I did for him.

Although it was not much of a break, as my older son was very calm and quiet, I looked to the future when his much more difficult little brother might also sit for 90 minutes in front of a movie and so we bought a TV.

1995-1999 – The PBS Years

We watched a lot of PBS on our first TV. We also watched the Fox and the Hound about ninety billion times. My oldest son LIVED for the moment when the Fox was being hunted down. He seemed to love that scary feeling. He also loved Winnie the Pooh and “DON’T FEED THE BEARS!” became a sort of early cuss word for him. If he was upset he would pound his fist on the table and shout “DON”T FEED THE BEARS!” We did not have Cable, and only three channels were ever clear. We watched a lot of movies and a lot of PBS.

1999-2007 – The Power Ranger/Star Wars/Kung Pow/Monty Python Years

I think that is pretty clear.

We also bought an X box and the boys played a lot of Lego Star Wars and other Star Wars games and also some college sports and professional sports video games.

I noticed that on the rare occasion they received a new game, they played it like mad for a few weeks until they mastered it, and then they lost interest. I didn’t have to spend a lot of time chasing them off as they only played when they had something new or when they had a friend over who wanted to play.

November 2007-January 2008 – The Cable TV Months

We had cable installed due to the Country Doctor’s family coming to our house over Thanksgiving and wanting to watch some KU game on TV.

Everyone told us that once we had it, we would never get rid of it.

HA!

February 2008

Cable TV yanked out of my house. Our X-Box is also broken. My children do not have a Wii, and they are extremely dissatisfied with the “Them”. Our smallish television sits in the cold dank basement, abandoned, and alone. My boys still get plenty of video time in front of the computer, but they have to chase me off first, which is difficult to do.

Ultimately, I don’t have a huge problem with TV or video games as long as children are not wasting away in front of them. I don’t feel a need to punish weaker beings with my moral superiority and my inner fortitude. This is just the way I was born. I can’t help it. If my children have to suffer as a result, I can only hope they will someday look back and appreciate their childhoods as they head to Best Buy with their newborn babies and buy a massive flat screen with surround sound and every game system in the store.

Comments

  • Donna Boucher:

    Have you seen Being There?Read the book?Cause that’s me.I sadly relate a little too closely to Chauncey Gardner.”I like to watch.”Although he was a simpleton and I’m really not quite that bad.I’m sure your boys will thrive with or without a Wii.

  • Pamelotta:

    I bet you were that person at parties who would trump all the other non t.v. watchers by trying to pretend you didn’t even know what one was.”What? A box with a window in it that lights up and shows moving pictures? No. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen one of those.”

  • ShackelMom:

    Hey, I was raised without a TV and so were my kids, for most of their childhood. We did have a way to watch videos, etc. at our leisure. They have good imaginations, read a lot and don’t watch much TV now. They also like to play bard games and talk to each other.We won’t brag about it, but we won’t apologize either.

  • Molly:

    Until I was in high school, we did not have cable TV. Since we lived in the “sticks” that meant that on a good day we got about 5 stations. All throughout school kids would ask me, “Hey, did you see the music video for such and such?” or “Did you see Nickalodeon?” And I’d usually respond, “Uh…music video and Nick-a-what-a??”Once we got cable TV, I became totally hooked. I still am. I feel the need to make up for all those missed years.

  • Tempered Woman:

    well crap~ if I didn’t have TV I wouldn’t have a life. All of my fondest most dramatic memories come from reality TV.

  • Tempered Woman:

    well crap~ if I didn’t have TV I wouldn’t have a life. All of my fondest most dramatic memories come from reality TV.

  • Lynn in WI:

    Oh Rechelle, you crack me up.You crack my 11-year-old up as well.He was so overcome with laughing over having a “Them” that he thinks you should write a book.We also have a “Them”… …and a three-month-old Gamecube, which I love. I love Zelda. I love my little Hyrulian Hero who can get rich just by swinging his sword at bushes.Have a great day!

  • Amelia:

    How do you get your weather updates as well as local and national news? I know a lot of the shows on tv are not fit to watch because of their lewd behavior of the actors and story line. However, there are many channels for health, adventure, history and so on etc.

  • Kathy from NJ:

    Just curious, how do you connect to the internet?We didn’t have a TV when I was growing up, probably got one when I was 8 or so (B&W, of course).

  • Rechelle:

    To get the internet – I hook the computer to my brain and since I invented the internet, it works perfectly. However – I did not invent the “Them” joke. I have to give credit to dear old friend Mistah Zellah for that one. Oh dear! When I want to know about the weather – I look out MY WINDOW!!!

  • Maria:

    I grew up w/out tv. I lived. I still have cultural references ’cause I went to public school and also watched friends t.vs…and we did have a t.v. for awhile. When I got to high school we had tv but hardly watched. At this point we have tv but we only watch videos/dvds. That takes enough time. I have an addictive personality and frankly I would watch every stinkin’ reality show and soap that came my way.I”m all set because my dd doesn’t even want wii or video games! Lord help us if she did, but I would stand strong.I do feel superior, thank you very much.

  • marye:

    Us too. Only we have never had cable, or a game system…and Wii? Non. Nyet. Nope. But not wii.Our children are destined to be deprived urchins that never learn to master the basics of technology…Much like our oldest son who is in the air force…and owns every piece of technology ever created.

  • marye:

    Us too. Only we have never had cable, or a game system…and Wii? Non. Nyet. Nope. But not wii.Our children are destined to be deprived urchins that never learn to master the basics of technology…Much like our oldest son who is in the air force…and owns every piece of technology ever created.

  • Rechelle:

    I am with you Maria – I am much afeared I would watch HGTV all day long… like I do when I go visit my parent’s house.

  • Coffee Bean:

    We had a TV when we first got married but after the first year, we put it back in the box. The majority of our 19 years together has been spent with the TV disconnected. We do have it connected during football season and this year got the Dish and a big screen TV. I still don’t watch it much. I,too, was afraid I’d be sucked into HGTV. But, I’m not. Now that football season is over… we are stuck paying for that dumb Dish. Oh well.

  • Jenni:

    LOL! We have a Them, too.

  • Michelle:

    We have a 57 inch TV and a Wii. The kids and I hardly watch TV and I would happily get rid of the cable, but hubby won’t have it.I do love the Wii. I was so very opposed to video games, but broke down and got one for hubby for Father’s Day last year. I love beating the kids at snowboarding and bowling. Okay I never win at bowling, but I rock at snowboarding.

  • Junebug:

    We have no Wii. We would like to have a Wii. We are looking for a Wii. I watch very little tv although we (not Wii) have Directv and a 51″ tv that I love. The reason I want a Wii is to play Dance Dance Revolution on it. I want some exercise fun! I could live without tv. The kids only watched PBS and videos growing up. My daughters don’t watch a lot of tv now that they are grown but my son plays games on his computer. I didn’t let my kids watch Saved by the Bell because I thought it was bad, now I wonder why?

  • Junebug:

    And I would like to ask Kathy from NJ if she was all grown up by the age of 8 and finally got that tv?

  • Valerie:

    I could live without T.V. but give me my computer!

  • speckledpup:

    there;s a possibility I’m in love with you!!!!you are too funny.

  • What's in a Name?:

    I have a TV I don’t watch and a DVD player I don’t use. (Not a purist — I have Blockbuster and watch movies on my laptop.)This is pretty much just my life, but the funny part is that other people can’t comprehend it. And if they do, they can’t remember it.Keeping in mind I tell people I “don’t have TV” (I can get one channel if I hold my antenna just right), here is a typical conversation between me and a co-worker of two years.Her: Have you seen that commercial for Pigstickers?Me: I don’t have TV.Her: It saw it on TNT. Oh, you don’t have that channel, do you?Me: No. I don’t watch TV.Next morning: Repeat.I don’t oppose TV on principle and would enjoy having access to PBS and crucial Law & Order reruns. It just doesn’t seem worth $40 a month.Also: said coworker is currently paying off a TV bought last year and now selling for $1000 less than they owe on it. In her same situation, my head would just blow off.

  • What's in a Name?:

    I have a TV I don’t watch and a DVD player I don’t use. (Not a purist — I have Blockbuster and watch movies on my laptop.)This is pretty much just my life, but the funny part is that other people can’t comprehend it. And if they do, they can’t remember it.Keeping in mind I tell people I “don’t have TV” (I can get one channel if I hold my antenna just right), here is a typical conversation between me and a co-worker of two years.Her: Have you seen that commercial for Pigstickers?Me: I don’t have TV.Her: It saw it on TNT. Oh, you don’t have that channel, do you?Me: No. I don’t watch TV.Next morning: Repeat.I don’t oppose TV on principle and would enjoy having access to PBS and crucial Law & Order reruns. It just doesn’t seem worth $40 a month.Also: said coworker is currently paying off a TV bought last year and now selling for $1000 less than they owe on it. In her same situation, my head would just blow off.

  • What's in a Name?:

    I have a TV I don’t watch and a DVD player I don’t use. (Not a purist — I have Blockbuster and watch movies on my laptop.)This is pretty much just my life, but the funny part is that other people can’t comprehend it. And if they do, they can’t remember it.Keeping in mind I tell people I “don’t have TV” (I can get one channel if I hold my antenna just right), here is a typical conversation between me and a co-worker of two years.Her: Have you seen that commercial for Pigstickers?Me: I don’t have TV.Her: It saw it on TNT. Oh, you don’t have that channel, do you?Me: No. I don’t watch TV.Next morning: Repeat.I don’t oppose TV on principle and would enjoy having access to PBS and crucial Law & Order reruns. It just doesn’t seem worth $40 a month.Also: said coworker is currently paying off a TV bought last year and now selling for $1000 less than they owe on it. In her same situation, my head would just blow off.

  • What's in a Name?:

    I have a TV I don’t watch and a DVD player I don’t use. (Not a purist — I have Blockbuster and watch movies on my laptop.)This is pretty much just my life, but the funny part is that other people can’t comprehend it. And if they do, they can’t remember it.Keeping in mind I tell people I “don’t have TV” (I can get one channel if I hold my antenna just right), here is a typical conversation between me and a co-worker of two years.Her: Have you seen that commercial for Pigstickers?Me: I don’t have TV.Her: It saw it on TNT. Oh, you don’t have that channel, do you?Me: No. I don’t watch TV.Next morning: Repeat.I don’t oppose TV on principle and would enjoy having access to PBS and crucial Law & Order reruns. It just doesn’t seem worth $40 a month.Also: said coworker is currently paying off a TV bought last year and now selling for $1000 less than they owe on it. In her same situation, my head would just blow off.

  • Anonymous:

    Love, love that you didn’t expose your children when young to TV and all that entails. Find that my niece who sat in front of the TV with her father for her first two years of life is paying the price now with attention deficit disorders and learning difficulties. Believe wholeheartedly that children are losing so much with babysitter TV.