My wife and I declared our independence last week. Not from each other—heavens, no! If not for my wife controlling what goes into my mouth, I’d likely be dead from an overdose of Buffalo wings and Lone Star beer. And without me, my wife would die of withdrawal from America’s Got Talent, she not being able to figure out the workings of the universal remote.
The independence I’m talking about is from pay television of the cable/satellite variety. Last month, our one-year special price deal expired. The new monthly bill was more than it would have cost us to buy our own Congressman.
You have to know my wife to understand how incensed she was when she opened that new bill. If she were a superhero, her name would be Super Saver. The only difference between her and Jesse James is that, whereas Jesse carried a gun, she carries coupons. After her fainting spell passed, she picked up the telephone and called our service provider.
Our special first-year deal had given us access to 150-plus channels. Sure, about 140 of them carried programs that were devoted exclusively to offers of rock-bottom deals on the latest diet and exercise fads. But we were cool with that, despite my carpal-tunnel procedure that resulted from repeated surfings of the channel guide to find ESPN.
My wife, who could normally beat William Shatner in a one-on-one Priceline Negotiator face-off, spent an hour on the phone, going through several levels of call-handlers from a greater number of time zones. After she hung up, she burst with pride into the den, where I’d suddenly lost the feed for the football game I’d been watching.
“I did it!” she exclaimed. “I got our bill back down to what we were paying before!”
“And how exactly did you do that?” I asked.
“I just changed our package. And we still get almost as many channels as we got before!”
I’d have been fine with that if I were more into shopping for exercise equipment than I were into exercising my elbow while watching a sports telecast. But I didn’t want to burst her bubble. “I’ve got a better idea, one that can save us even more money,” I said.
I could read her glance. It’s the same one Mike Tyson might give if Pee Wee Herman faced him with his dukes up. “Why don’t we just cut the cable completely? That we’ll have no bill at all.”
“No way,” she said, arms crossed. It was the unmistakable look of an America’s Got Talent addict.
But I was ready. “We can still get the local stations,” I said. They’re free. All we need is an antenna. Think back; you remember antennas? They’re those things we had on our houses before they invented cable bills.”
“Ohhhh…yeah,” she pondered. “And so I can still watch AGT?”
“But your football games. Can you still get those?”
“Well, I could,” I told her. “But for that, there’s just one more thing that we’d need in addition to the antenna.”
I answered her, “A good line of credit at the local sports bar.”