25 Things To Watch Instead Of Summer Television


This is the summer of my discontent. It is very hot, and yet people still insist on wearing cardigans, standing too close to me on mass transit, and having facial hair. Sure, some of those things might be completely within their rights, but that doesn’t prevent me from raising my personal thermometer a few degrees on their behalf. Like any good and decent person, I perspire vicariously, so the summer is a pretty rocky time.

The heat is not entirely to blame for my mood. Something bad happens every summer. Something even more evil than humidity, sunburn, and being peer-pressured into games of volleyball. In the summer, the television goes away.

Television is my favorite.  I have a lot of evidence to back this up, but I doubt you need it. I’m sure you’ve read my book: “It’s Not TV It’s — Okay, Yes It Is TV: The Addict’s Guide to Surreptitiously Watching Television Anywhere.” Or you visit my blog: “www.sowhatifIoncestoppedaromanticencountertowatchthesopranos.com”?

During the summer all I am left with is reality shows about dancing and chairs. Sure, I have Netflix and Hulu, but if you think I don’t already use both of those throughout the year, you’re out of your “can’t even tell Season 2 of The Office from Season 3” mind. If character is what happens when no one’s watching, then television in the summer is of exemplary moral fiber. Here are my substitutes for things to watch instead of TV — I tried to choose things that were historically lauded for watch-ability. I also chose a few things that present themselves with some sort of screen intermediary, so as to minimize the difference between watching television and, say, my box fan.

25 things to watch instead of summer television:

1. Birds.

2. The night.

3. Whoever Sting was watching because obviously they’re pretty interesting. I mean, he’s Sting and he’s watching them so hard that he wrote a song about it.

4. My back.

5. Paint dry.

6. Grass grow.

7. Watching the paint dry on the growing grass. (Those scumbags with their recreational youth soccer games are just begging to be interrupted.)

8. Delicious-looking small mammals from a nest 4-21 meters off the ground, like a hawk.

9. The world, in the manner of Widget the World Watcher.

10. Pots (Tip: use a lid because that “never boils” line is horsesh-t. Take it from me, a watched pot will definitely boil and boiling water will turn your life upside down.)

11. Weight.

12. People (Tip: keep this plural. Going “people-watching” is fine. Going “person-watching” is a class D felony.)

13. Whales.

14.  James Brown, at his insistence.

15. Waterfalls. (The song says not to chase them. No one said anything about watching them. In fact, most of them are pretty stationary, which is a quality that lends a lot more easily to watching than chasing.)

16. My mouth.

17. The dykes of Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For

18. The clouds roll away, preferably on the dock of a large body of calm water connected to a sea or ocean but partially encircled by land.

19. The throne.

20. Live shows while wearing a scuba mask.

21. Shoes and/or stars. (If you can gaze at something, you can also watch it.)

22. Someone sleep, if you’re quiet, or someone wake up, if you brought too many crunchy snacks.

23. Anything that people say is “like watching a car wreck.”

24. Burritos being built through a sneeze guard.

25. Snow globes.

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