A few nights ago I was in Houston at a Mexican restaurant having dinner, and there was a large television in the room about 10 feet from me. It was playing “Chicago Med”. So not only was my attention being drawn away from conversation by the flashing box in general, the content was pretty graphic. As I worked my way through a nice burrito with cheese on top, a surgeon was cutting away into the bloody abdomen of a patient. Uncool, Mexican restaurant, uncool.

But all was not lost. I reached into my pocket, pulled out my phone, then dialed up an app I have called “TV OFF”. Guess what it does. On launch, I’m given a list of tv manufacturers. I selected the checkbox next to Samsung, then pointed my phone at the tv. Poof! Off goes the distraction, and I find it much easier to concentrate on the people I was sharing my meal with.

I turn off televisions in public a few times a month. I do have some rules. If people are actually watching a show, it stays on. I’m not a monster. The thing is, most of the time, people are not watching. It’s just a noisy, flashy, bullshit machine. So- I turn it off.

I’m not a total luddite. I enjoy shows and movies on platforms that don’t assault me with shouty and manipulative commercials for 20 minutes every hour. I’ve gotten to a point where it’s actually difficult for me to sit through regular network programming because the commercials are so obnoxious. I probably need to be a little more flexible, but I have to say there are worse ways to be.

I just looked in the app store and see that my particular app is no longer available, but there are several free apps that will achieve the same effect. If you find yourself in situations where there’s a fucking annoying tv that nobody is watching, get some peace. and turn the thing off.

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