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  • Writer's pictureHannah Pearson

Hey Mister DJ, Turn the TV On

How Decision-Fatigue is Making Me Miss Cable


Spoilers For: Nothing

When I was seven my family finally got cable. Honestly, I don’t know how my parents went so long without it. They had so many kids that the cops once showed up because someone had called in claiming we were running an illegal daycare. Nope, just Catholic. And as most 90s kids know, TV was the best babysitter, so God knows, they could have used it sooner. But with all those mouths to feed, it probably took my parents some time to square away the money to expand our viewing pleasures.

But when the joyous day finally came, so did an extremely difficult decision. We had the option of either a plan that had the Disney Channel or one that Cartoon Network. I forget how all the other channels divvied up because for little Hannah choosing between those two was a real Sophie’s Choice.

Everyone in my family got a vote and somehow the tie-breaker came down to me.

Gummy Bears or Powerpuff Girls? Duck Tales or Dexter's Lab?

It was agony. I couldn’t help but resent my friends who never had to choose, whose parents could afford the deluxe package or the bacchanalia that must have been living with Satellite. My brooding completely ignored my mother’s reminders that poor children in faraway countries didn’t even own a TV.

I searched deep in my heart that day and handed my figurative rose to Cartoon Network.

After that the crushing weight of choice was lifted. Because whenever I went into the living room and sprawled out on the floor, with my feet prompt up on the big box— because I lost the remote and needed to use my toes to push the buttons—I would simply watch whatever was on Cartoon Network. I didn’t need to know what Game Show Network’s lineup was or who was cooking what on the Food Network. I happily scarfed up whatever Hanna-Barbera or rerun of Scooby-Doo was slopped on my plate. If I didn’t want it then I didn’t want to watch TV. Simple.

Then when I got to be a teenager and a few mouths were out of the house, we could afford the Full Monty of cable. With it came my old nemesis: decision-making. My palette had refined a bit more as I got older and I craved other content. But even still the constant selection of what I watched didn’t feel too burdensome. I had a system. First scan the five or six channels I liked, if something was starting from the beginning it automatically got bumped into first place, runner-up, or rather the show I bounced to when the first place show went into commercial, was something lacking in a real plot or had a hot guy.

Fast forward into a future of streaming service and I’m at a place in my life where I’m ready to say “see ya later” to cable.

A deep desire for content curated to my uniquely formed tastes had taken over and cable could no longer make me happy. Not to mention I needed something more flexible with my busy schedule. Gone were the days of running home after school to catch my favorite show (Sailor Moon) in time. Who doesn't want to watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it?

When I said goodbye to cable I felt like it was for good. Thanks old friend for all the memories but I can handle the big decisions now…..

And then the pandemic happened and now my life is nothing but a never-ending hellscape of constant and barraging decision making.

Should I go to this event? If I do then I need to wear a mask, should I wear two? Is it safe for my daughter to play on those swings? What vaccine should I get? Is it worth the risk going to the grocery store for just yogurt? Am I going to stop wearing a mask now? How about just outside?

I know I am not alone in being exhausted by all the constant decisions that must be made in one day, only to wake up the next day and make brand news or the same ones because now there’s new information. Often the last thing I want to do when I chill out for the night is pick what goop on the boob tube I want to turn on while my brain turns off.

Okay, fine, I’ll say it. I miss cable. At least right now. I mean it’s not just that it’s God awful to make another decision, but there is just way too much good TV nowadays. Every show out there is star-studded, with top-notch writing, and so much Fuck You Money to spend on production that the process of elimination is getting trickier. It’s like walking into an orgy of mega-hotties but I’m the only one who actually worked a full day as a plumber so now I just want to take a nap.

Sometimes I can’t even get to the part where I pick a show because deciding which streaming app to open was too much for the night.

I am not saying I’m ready to run back to cable. For starters, I don’t even own an actual physical television anymore, and commercials? No thanks. What I want is a TV DJ. I want a person or device that just spins the right playlist of shows that match my vibe.

I need Jesus to take the remote.

Or maybe I just need to read a book?


Are You Tired of the Marathon of Decision-Making? Does it Make You Miss Cable Just a Teensy-Weensy Bit?


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