This week, Paul and I would like to introduce a new feature to Poker Pilgrims. Throwdown Thursday will be a place where we debate ideas related to our poker pilgrimage. We will discuss ways to save money, side hustle ideas, places to visit on our journey (or not), and pretty much anything else that strikes our fancy and engenders a good argument. This week we consider the idea of cutting the cord and getting rid of cable for the thousandth time.
Paul and I look in horror upon our monthly cable bill. Both children of the 70s, we remember the day when television was free (unless you count the labor costs of physically turning the channel knob and constantly rearranging the antennae). We keep trying to get that bill down, but over time it pops back up again. We regularly contemplate just cutting the cable and living a better life. A life of the mind (cue bluebirds fluttering above the couch).
Only we like TV. We really like TV. We love and worship TV like the pagan god it is. To the extent that we have to put hourly limits on ourselves, as if we were thirteen year olds who would watch 24-7 if given the chance (yes). While we have scaled back from having all the channels, we still co-dependently cling to HBO and Showtime. We’ve pondered at least dropping the premium channels, but then we remember that no Showtime means no Billions, and no Shameless. And no HBO means no Last Week Tonight, and no access to The Wire which we are finally watching about 15 years late. We say to each other “we could just wait until these things get to Netflix.” And then we laugh and laugh.
Paul’s oldest is heading off to college in the fall, causing us to re-examine every item on the budget, and we are once again considering just how much we need our cable TV. Perhaps it is time for us to consider finally cutting the cord. Paul is advocating walking away from the madness. I, however, am having anticipatory withdrawal (is that a thing?), and am resisting what I know to be the voice of reason.
Paul: Frugality and addiction are meeting on the battlefield for me, and frugality is currently winning the day. We are looking to save pennies everywhere we can for the poker trip. And Penelope* is about to head off for college. Paying over $200 a month for television is just absurd. Something has to give, and I’m ready to go all Che Guevara on Verizon.
Heather: I have to admit, I see your point. But Superstore! Jeopardy! You would have to give up watching the Celtics’ rebirth. And I would have to release my hold on my beloved, long beleaguered Redskins. I just don’t know if I can do it!
Paul: Sure there’d be losses, but we don’t watch a lot of network TV anyway. And once we finish The Wire, we will have binge watched pretty much every desirable series. We only follow a few shows now and some of those are on Netflix, like Peaky Blinders and Stranger Things. But we need some limits. Left to our own devices we’ll watch anything: see Norwegian thriller about cops and ancient demons and that German one with the depressed time travelling children.
Heather: Hey – I liked those German kids zipping through the wormhole and fathering themselves. Deep stuff!
Paul: Enough said. We can just be patient and wait for things to make their way to Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Believe me, I am shocked that this latchkey adult is advocating such a path, because it means I may have to consider reading on a regular basis.
Nothing scares me more.
Heather: Patient? When has either of us EVER been patient about anything? Max’s* grades come out in 28 minutes and I swear the clock is ticking backward like in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (which I would no longer be able to find deep in cable-land if you cut me off).
I think I’m starting to develop an eye twitch.
Paul: There’s likely a 12-step program for that. Hopefully after a couple of years, the phantom remote control clicking would subside. No doubt there would be initial pain, but we could focus on things like say…oh I don’t know…writing better blog posts. Oh, and there is always the potential for improved parenting skills and more quality time with our kids. I just threw that last one in for a good laugh.
Heather: I’m going to have to ponder this one. You make excellent points, but I think I feel a panic attack setting in at the idea of cutting the cord. I’m going to go watch old episodes of Battlestar Galactica until I feel better.
*Names of children have been changed to protect against future intrafamily litigation.
Next Up: To RV or not to RV: That is the Throwdown.
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