During a recent, brief stint working at one of the better cable companies here in Regina, I encountered a moment of confusion and despair.

Amid wind storms that swept through the province late last week, we were inundated with calls from customers disgruntled at the trouble in connection. What was disturbing was the number of people who implied this was a tragedy. My colleagues and I had customers ask us in all seriousness what they were supposed to do now that there wasn’t any TV. These callers did not sound like people who were ill, or could, for whatever reason, do little else than watch television. It appeared they had resigned themselves to being this way. I suggested reading a book, putting on their favourite music or (novel idea) talking to family members and friends as ways to pass the time. These suggestions were met with a) laughter (followed by “not funny”), b) swearing, or c) a simple hang up of the phone.

What has the world come to when cable TV is as necessary a family staple as bread? When taken away from us we turn into angry, irrational children, demanding this vital artery of our existence be switched back on immediately, as though someone has pulled the plug on a life support machine? Is there any hope for us, when people are needing to be told how to go on living without this big, rectangle box? A service that is in actual fact a privilege is somehow being demanded as a right, like so many other ‘things’ we have grown tenaciously possessive of.