Watching TV is an art that has been mastered by very few people. It requires skillful precision, deception, and cunning. It is much like being a spy, except by the end of the day, you've gained weight through lack of exercise as opposed to lost weight due to strenuous gymnastic workouts. Watching TV is an art that you won't find in any museum. Watching TV is an art that is practiced correctly only by a few fortunate souls. In the next page or so I will be outlining for you the correct daily TV watching routine through a series of uncomplicated steps and procedures to ensure the most basic and enjoyable experience.
Before I start outlining the steps of this exercise in fit-lessness, I will go over the ingredients you will need. Please be aware that the materials you are required for this task are listed for their importance.
Television Connection (Cable, Antenna, Satellite Receiver)
Seat (Couch, Chair, Recliner)
TV Guide or some sort of channel list
Sustenance (Preferrably something fattening/junky)
The television is the most essential object for viewing. One could literally sit in an empty room with a television on static, and it would still be considered watching TV. Next up, after the television, is some sort of connection. This can be Cable, a connector that is run along telephone poles and comes in two flavors, Digital Cable and what I like to call Analog Cable. Your local Cable company can fill you in on those details. Antenna is good for just the local stations, not only that but you only have to pay ten dollars for an antenna hook-up at RadioShack and you never have to pay for TV again. Or there's Satellite, a big circular dish that sits on the side of your house pointing towards the heavens. There's a lot of debate between Cable subscribers and Satellite subscribers. Frankly, I don't know the difference, so I won't wax on about that to you.
Next item is some sort of seat. For maximum comfort, you want a chair with a backing to it. Armrests are good, but not required, so if you have a couch, that works. The best kind of seat you can find is one that puts you in a state similarly to being quite tired, but never to sleep. You should feel the need to shift positions once or twice during your time watching TV. If you fall asleep, then all is lost and you have to start watching all over again.
Now comes the really optional things. These are not required for the experience, but are generally needed for the maximum amount of comfort available. Among these are a TV Guide or some other form of channel listing (sometimes this comes with the daily newspaper, though usually it only lists primetime, six p.m. to midnight), food (junk food usually, pretzels and beer if you're old enough, cheetos are nice, fritos are tasty, some people like doritos, personally I'm a fan of popcorn), a remote control (so you can sit at a fair distance from the television and surf, though surfing is not required if one channel shows non-stop goodness), and lastly a hassock so you can rest your feet on a level plane with your buttocks.
Step 1: Take a Seat
Here is where your hard work obtaining the objects comes into play. You will want to place the chair at a reasonable distance from the television, but not so far away you can't see it. A good rule of thumb is, you can be as close as you want to the TV, but there is such a thing as being too far away. You may also want to sit down in the chair before you turn on the TV and see if everything is alright. When you sit down, you should be able to see the television in your direct line of sight. If, say, you are facing the other direction, or slightly to the left, the seat may require a little adjustment.
The next phase of the seating operation is to get yourself into recline mode. If you are in a recliner, this should be the simple task of leaning the chair back and putting up the optional footrest/hassock. If you are on a couch, slide down it a bit so your head rests neatly against the headboard so that you don't have to support the weight with your neck and shoulders. Splay your legs out haphazardly if it's comfortable, we're going for near-maximum comfort. Remember, you don't want to be so comfortable that you'll fall asleep in the seat, but you don't want to look like you're awake either.
Step 2: Using the Television
Before we begin, once again make sure the screen is facing your very comfortable position. This is very essential, you must not have anything evading your direct line of sight of the screen, this includes flashy objects in your peripheral view. Once you are satisfied with the angle and intensity of your proximity to the television set, you must turn it on. Press the power button. If you have a remote, the power button is usually located near the top of the remote and it is often red, though not always. Depending on your television, the power button could be one of many varities. You have the Push-Pull knob, which is a simple pull out and the TV turns on; the volume/power knob, where a little turn to the right will click on the television (you may need to exert a small amount of force to actually power-up the television); and lastly the modern and popular power button, which is most often located near the bottom of the set and contains the word POWER above or below it.
There are two other features that we'll cover in this section. Though televisions often come with thousands of features (picture-in-picture, channel surf, flashback/previous channel, and mute being popular ones) I will only cover two other features: Volume, the amplification of noise coming through your set; and Channel, which of the many offered "station signals" you choose to interpret through your set. Volume usually comes in two flavors, Loud (+) and Quiet (-). Loud will, as the name suggests, increase the volume so that if you are hard of hearing or you want to annoy your neighbor, you have the option. Quiet is the exact opposite, though I very often neglect the opportunity to use this button. Channel has Up and Down buttons. These two buttons change which signal received by the television you want to be interpreted through the set.
Step 3: Picking a Station
There are two ways you can do this. You can "channel surf," a term coined in the sixties with the invention of the remote control, when surfing with a portable television became all the rage. Many televisions were ruined before the invention of "waterproof electronics" came around. But I digress, channel surfing is the act of flipping rampantly through channels until something enticing appears on the screen. For males, this is usually a scene involving explosions, curse-words, guns, or semi-naked to naked women. For women, this involves women fighting back against their abusive men, a little boy with cancer, or two people in love. Though women are rarely found channel-surfing and usually end up on one station for several hours. Not to come off as sexist however, men enjoy romance sometimes and women often partake in death and maiming. I would comment that this is often accompanied by feelings of homosexuality, but I don't want to offend anyone.
Channel surfing also deals with the problem of commercials. Often a show will go for five to ten minutes, and then will cut to a commercial break for four. The impatient soul will immediately hit the up or down channel keys and attempt to find something equally exciting, or just flip around until the user realizes the show is back on.
Another method to finding a show is to use a TV Guide or channel listing. To use, one simply must look for the right date and time that corresponds in the book with the date and time it currently is at time of viewing. The channel list will read up and down, telling the names of shows and sometimes highlighting episode titles or a brief blurb about a movie. To go to the preferred show, one simply enters the channel number into the remote control. On some remote controls one must press an Enter key, but not generally. If you are lacking a remote control, a simple up and down channel button procedure will, in time, procure the correct channel number and visualization can proceed.
If you are using Satellite or Digital Cable, you can look through a listing of current channels and the shows they are playing at all times and pick and choose the channel that way. I won't go into detail how that is done, but it is very handy and should not go unnoticed. If you are on normal cable television, there is a TV guide channel, but you have no control over the speed of the channels it shows and you can't select them from the menu, you must enter the channel numbers as they come up. If you are on local TV, you're S.O.L., but it's ok, because it's not like you have very many stations to flip through anyway.
Step 4: Relax
As stated before in the seating section, this is highly important for the watching TV experience and mastery. You will need to be comfortable in your seat. For increased comfort, make sure the heat level in the room is a comfortable one and bring in good foods, which is mostly what this section is really about, food.
Step 4: Really It's All About Food
Food is really important to the television experience. While it has to be something that will, ultimately, fill you up, it can't be something that has mass and it has to take a long time. Some considerations are bready junk foods like chips, pretzels, or doughnuts. Pretty much the food of choice is something you can eat without moving too many muscles. The most muscles you want to use would be one arm and your mouth. Anything in a bag or a box or a bowl that you can conveniently place near you is ideal. For meals, a microwave dinner on a TV tray is the probable situation. Yes, you will have to adjust away from your comfortable situation, but it is important to have four meals a day. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and a Midnight Meal. There's really not much topic to be covered in the food section. Just remember that if it takes effort, it's probably not worth time away from TV.
So that's it!
You can now watch TV with the best of them. Once you complete the four steps I've outlined above, you will be a television master and nobody will ever watch better than you. Remember, whatever you'll be watching, I'll be watching too.
This is Caleb Orion Richards, over and out.