Inspired by how much happier I have been not knowing about all those children or who blames whom for the perpetual state of what or who plans to effort election in order to direct the lives of whom, I have been, the past six months, aggressively cutting those things out of my life that I believed were bringing nothing to the table. A partial list of the cuts that have noticeably improved my life:
* Internet criticism. I used to be a fairly regular reader of a small handful of Keys-related message boards, of Chowhound, and of AICN’s talkbacks. Then I realized that 90% of the time, I left my visits to those sites annoyed with someone or something. I wish it were possible to have Agenda and No-Agenda sections on the internet, like restaurants with smoking sections. I miss some things about them, but life is short, and one must weed if one is to reap. Cut.
* Law & Order: SVU: After about the third consecutive episode — last straw was the one where Blair Underwood set Michael Michele on fire — that ended with me feeling bleak enough to wonder why it was I watched SVU in the first place, I decided that there was no reason.
* TV I was watching for the sake of watching TV. It is hard for me, now, to think of something that brings less to my table than television that I’m watching ’cause there’s nothing else to do. Now that Jesus has given us DVDs of shows, there’s no reason to watch pretaped commercial television at all. (It’s a shame downloading shows isn’t legal, because that would really make life nicer, but, alas, file-sharing is illegal, so I certainly can’t step over that line. I am, after all, Mr. Respect For The Law.)
* The Drudge Report: I don’t want to know up-to-the-second standings in politics, sensational crimes, celebrity rumor, and freaks. I used to check it out of habit, from back when I used to have to see if anything had happened in the last five minutes. Matt, I love what you did to the Old Media, and I was even responsible for a headline of yours way back, but you’re cut.
* Arguing with religious people about being religious. Whatever gives you comfort and gets you through the night is fine with me. A polite “No, thanks!” works just as well as a lecture. (This goes for political cause leafleters, too. No more sneering at the people trying to give me brochures at the Farmer’s Market; their religion is weird, but no weirder than the rest of them.)
* Spoilers of movies I was/am looking forward to. It’s tempting, that instant gratification, but what’s the point of seeing the movies if I know what’s going to happen? It lessens the pleasure of it. Takes some serious effort to avoid. Worth it.
* The view of golf balls and white dress shirts as lasting possessions. Much, much better to consider them single-use.