"Mystery" (a mysterious reader of Net Cotton Content) has left the following comment prompted by a recent post:

"I have been to your home, more than once. You do have a television. What you do not have is cable. Your children play video games on and you watch DVD’s on a television. Perhaps you might revise your statement to say simply, you don’t have cable. As I have seen, you have had a television over the past 13 years. Be honest with what you do have vs what you do not have."

I plead guilty, but only kinda. Kinda guilty. Is that a valid plea?

First, here’s the result of today’s audit:

We have a DVD player which is cable ready (but without the cable). And we have a bushel of Macintosh computers which are wired to the Internet. And we have a couple radios. And two newspaper subscriptions.

Hopefully, I’ve come clean enough for Mystery.

But, wait. I wasn’t ever talking about hardware.

I’m talking about behavior.
When I wrote that I haven’t had "television" in my life since we jettisoned our television in 1993, I was thinking of "television" as "television programming" rather than as "the thing that is a television."

If, hypothetically, we had kept our television, but were using it as the base for our coffee table or as a footrest or, refurbished, as an aquarium, then Mystery would probably allow my claim of having no television.

For example, I have a bottle of Scotch for when my dear mother visits. But I don’t drink Scotch. I think I can claim that I’m not a Scotch drinker. But, to rise to Mystery’s standard for accountability and accuracy, I will own up to having a bottle.

I guess I should have said, "I don’t watch television programming." That would have been accurate. I haven’t seen the evening news in my home in 13 years. (And, as I have already written, that’s a good thing.) Nor any other programming via broadcast or cable. (Further disclaimer: I’ve seen some BBC programs on DVD.)

TV or no TV, Mystery thinks I’m a bore.
Maybe, as a former television addict, I’ve now long been one of those irritating recovered addicts. You know, the person who replaces his hard drinking with annoying tales of sobriety. (More to come.)

But I’m no hypocrite. I’ve always freely admitted that we watch movies and plenty of them are inappropriate. Our kids watched Henry V so many times before they turned five that we are clearly not protecting them from the hard images of battle. As Hank himself says, with two thumbs up, "This was a royal fellowship of death."

Have you ever sent a letter to someone you know personally and not signed it? What were you thinking?