There are only so many places we can find honest power over our domains anymore in life. Does it not feel that we are all so alienated from what we want in our lives? Isn’t that what we want – control, power? Taking what may seem impossible or unwieldy and taking control of it ourselves? What more is there to desire, ultimately?
And time… Time is that which cannot be changed. Father time, as is said, is undefeated. This is true on many scales, both that aging makes your back hurt when you get up in the morning so you have to stretch and that sometimes two basketball games you want to watch are airing at the same time. This second dilemma… It seemed impossible to overcome, a theoretical mountain higher than any other, especially in the realm of sports wherein the viewing of an event live on-air is so imperative. Impossible to overcome by normal means, and by normal men.
But in the words of one of the athletic world’s greatest minds – I’m a genetic freak and I’m not normal. And neither is my television setup Enter the two-television setup:
I am not alone in my belief here, but I personally find the four days that generally occupy the third weekend in the month of March are the best four day stretch in all of athletics. You are guaranteed constant action and intrigue, drama, surprises, upsets, athletic prowess, and generally the San Diego State Aztecs losing in some gut-wrenching fashion as well.
In recent years, the Turner television conglomerate has superimposed a constant ticker atop the screen during in-game coverage, keeping tabs on up to three games airing at the same time on whatever channels is currently being viewed. Valuable as this is, it institutes an undercurrent of the damnable, horrible “fear of missing out.” What if my game on TNTisn’t quite as good as the one on TruTV? If I flip away from the close 14-3 game still relatively close on this channel to the 7-10 game in the final minutes will I miss out on the makings of one of the greatest upsets in history? Or will I simply be missing a close shave that will ultimately be washed away by the sands of time, another expected finish that I clung to because of my hubristic desires to see glory develop from its inception?
The answer here is Two TVs. The answer was always Two TVs. The answer, for as long as I can keep it as the answer, will be Two TVs. Two TVs must be the answer, it must be life for these four days at least for the rest of time.
But if I bask too intensely in its glory I shall overlook its potential pitfalls, which are very real, and which I must in the name of science and philosophy dictate going forward in this post.
Pro: Two Games At Once
I explained this in too much detail earlier.One of the things I am hoping Two TVs brings to me is the ability to write shorter introduction sections, but it has failed to bring that to me yet. What it has brought me is the ability to watch two basketball games at one time, which is a boon whenever there are two basketball games occurring simultaneously that I want to watch.
Con: Too Much Power
However it is through suffering that we grow, isn’t it? Would we truly want to get everything we wanted all of the time? Sure, perhaps it is a simple solution to a simple problem – if two televisions are owned, it only makes sense to put a basketball game on each. Doesn’t everything at the convenience store cost you a little bit more? I am worried that this is the first step down the line, that in a few weeks I will soon be getting everything more that I want, making every shot I take in billiards and hitting every green light in my car, and before too long I will recognize what my life has become and at that moment exactly, Rod Serling will come out and address a camera about my many mistakes.
Pro: Defined Hierarchy
That one TV is so much larger than the other introduces an easy-to-define definition of value – That which is on the larger television is more important than that which is on the smaller television. The teams I care about most, the best games, the most salacious upsets, go on the larger screen, and teams I care about less, games of less significance, and chalkier results go on the smaller TV. It is only logical, and it is set up to bolster that logic.
Con: Dissonance within Defined Hierarchy
I can only get over-the-air channels on the big television. Any game on CBS must be shown on the big television, and if not it will not be shown at all. This is the fault of Sling TV, which normally isn’t that big of a problem because I just watch the NFL Network most of the time anyway. In this case, when the CBS game is of lower-quality or import to me compared to the games on TNT, or TruTV, or TBS (or throw in ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU for that matter) it can throw off the balance of the TV-size hierarchy. Suddenly, to keep tabs on the CBS game, I have to relegate a potentially great game to the small TV. Or worse, if a game I have some obligation to watch is on (i.e. the CBS game features my alma mater in a 1-16 matchup that they are winning handily within ten minutes of play.), I may be rendered unable to enact the hierarchical understanding of these games’ values. It would be the perfect situation for the small TV – the Jayhawks’ blowout of Texas Southern would be perfect for the small TV, but not intriguing enough to take up the big TV’s space. Circumstances, though, forced this to be flipped on its head, and I was forced to simply not watch the Jayhawks at all. This may be a pro, in the end, as it does remind me I am mortal.
This works for other sports as well. Say my Alma Mater is also in the NCAA Women’s basketball tournament. Say there is soccer. Say there is the antics of Peter Griffins on “The Family Guy” running on Adult Swim. Say I only hear what I want to I don’t listen hard I don’t pay attention to the distance that you’re running to or anyone anywhere I don’t understand if you really care I’m only hearing negative no no no bad. All of these are possible, and did happen. And the second TV can be used for them as well.
All power tends to corrupt. Television-related power tends corrupts in television-related manners. Understanding that the second TV can show anything means that the second TV can, at any point in time, be showing something. I feel the urge to put something in. When the second TV is in place, it is hard to accept that the second TV can be left off. It is there, dormant, out of use. I came to love the second TV during the first round of the NCAA tournament, but in the early afternoons, when there was only one game worth of basketball going, I found myself absentmindedly searching for something to put on the second TV. At one point it was (admittedly a pretty good) game between the damn Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls. I pressed play on the Pittsburgh Riverhounds versus Hartford Athletic at one point before ESPN+ mercifully told me the game was at halftime. One must recognize that power can come just as much from abstinence in the face of power as it can from the wielding of the power itself.
Con: TWICE THE FUCKING ADS
There are moments when the commercial breaks line up and I am forced to see LiMu Emu and Doug at the same time as I see Progressive Flo, or the weird ad for The Gap where a kid reads a poem, or every variation of Reggie Miller at Wendy’s, every variation of what AT&T Lily is doing, every variation, every DAMNABLE VARIATION of Jake From State Farm’s interactions with his various celebrity clients, at the same god-forsaken time, making the same jokes I’ve heard hundreds of times in the course of four days, just slightly out of sync. Kumail Nanjiani reads lines in a mirror. Invesco fund investor spills coffee on virtual basketball court. Reggie Miller annoys the staff at Wendy’s. Kevin Hart plays his own channel on SiriusXM.
As high as the highs are I cannot escape these lows, I cannot escape these many advertisements, these many incessant pitch-people. With all the power I wield I cannot escape them. They are impervious to it, in many ways made only stronger through the paradox.
Thank God I Am Not God. Thank God I Am Not God. Thank God I Am Not God.