It's time for the ACC basketball tournament and I'm embarrassed to say I will be watching the games, back-to-back, until I fall off the couch or stop breathing.
Every spring I am mortified by my ability to watch the tube this way and by the end of the NCAA tournament, feel fairly brainwashed by the commercials.
Advertising is mind-numbing, brainwashing ... no doubt about it. When I lived in Prague, Czech Republic, there was little or no advertising. This was just after the end of Communism and there was no consumer-consumption-advertising machine on the prowl for hearts and minds.
When I returned to America after two years, I was a different person, able to focus and concentrate and utterly indifferent to pop culture, materialism and consumer tastes.
How the mighty fall, I must say.
Today I can hang with the best of the TV watchers ... through countless dumb beer ads, phone and car ads, even the fast-food. I see how it infects our thinking, too. How many times have I been sitting in front of the TV when I got a sudden urge for ice cream or chips?
Despite the poisonous commercials, there's nothing like basketball this time of year. At least the commercial breaks are predictable and timed, no more than the regulation time-outs called by coaches or umpires. And at some point, the breaks will serve a purpose ... when I need to take one of the dogs outside, feed the cats, fix someone's bedding, clean up a hairball or fix myself some Lotus Tea.
As long as I don't miss tip-off.