Sometimes television brings out the worst in me.
It causes me to lose my temper when the football game I expected to see is blacked out in my area. It incites me to shout bad words when the screen goes blank and I have to spend half an hour rebooting. And, on Sunday, it made me be rude to a voice on the phone.
At 9:45 that evening I have settled into my recliner and fired up the remote in anticipation of watching the latest episode of “Ray Donovan,” a hugely entertaining Showtime program about despicable characters doing despicable things to other despicable characters. (I’m a big fan of despicableness).
The program is not scheduled to begin until 10, but, like most American households, we pay for hundreds of cable channels and I need a head start to find my favorite shows.
Not only do I have trouble remembering which networks carry the shows, I can’t keep track of which numbers I have to tap to reach those networks. I could, of course, scroll through the on-screen guide, but by the time I scroll through hundreds of channels and locate the one carrying my favorite program, my favorite program will be half over.
By 10 p.m. I have located the channel that airs “Ray Donovan.” But, instead of “Ray Donovan,” what I see on the screen is a series of flashing question marks, indicating that there is no such channel.
Puzzled, but not yet upset, I do a computer search and locate a report that there is another one of those chicken fights between cable company Time Warner and the television networks going on and that the “Ray Donovan” channel has been suspended. The report includes a phone number to call if I want to register my opinion.
When I call the number to register my opinion, a voice comes on and asks why I’m calling. I’m figuring that the voice probably will apologize and maybe even offer me a free month of service to make up for my displeasure.
So I tell the voice that I’m very displeased because I can’t watch a program for which I’m going to be billed at the end of the month. The voice replies that I have to call a different number about that. Which makes me really displeased and causes me to say something nasty about the voice’s employer.
But now I’m sorry, because it’s not the voice’s fault that the network and the cable company are so greedy.
So I hope you’ll accept my apologies, voice. And please pass my phone number along to your employers.
I know they’ll want to call me about my free month of service.