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Mike's Take: Channeling the demon in my TV

Wednesday - 1/18/2012, 11:51am  ET

Mike Causey, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - If you have never experienced a television that is demonically possessed, count your blessings.

Trust me, you haven't lived -- as in suffered -- until you've watched a Chinese (I think) movie with Vietnamese (I think) subtitles. Especially if you don't speak, read or write either.

With my TV, every evening is a surprise. I am pretty sure my flat-screen is inhabited by a higher, mischief-making power that controls my remote.

The fact that I am sometimes forced to watch what the TV wants, not what I want, may be punishment -- directed at me because I went so long without cable. I think I was one of the last Americans to subscribe.

Like a lot of folks in this area, I made a point of telling people I rarely watched TV. Maybe a PBS program or a news show, but other than that, I was too busy reading the classics.

But as it turns out, I watched a lot, and even more since getting cable.

However, a lot of what I watch is not of my choosing.

Sometimes when I am channel surfing, the remote will stop at a station I don't want and have no interest in, and it will refuse to budge until I have suffered through watching a guy paint a wall or someone make Hollandaise sauce from scratch. When that happens, it's a twilight zone moment without the Twilight Zone.

I recently tried to sneak away from the National Geographic or History Channel, which was doing a show about the Druids. I was trying to get to HBO for "Boardwalk Empire," but it was not to be.

The remote seized up on a "just-shoot-me" channel, which was showing a cattle auction. A long cattle auction. This is not the first time I was stuck watching steers and heifers walk or run while an auctioneer said auctioneer things. I would have sold my soul to be back with the Druids.

After a while, it released me to HBO.

Of course, the show I wanted was over.

My TV wants me to learn to love a show called "One Tree Hill." It seems to be a soap opera series about the trials and tribulations of 20-somethings. I'm sure it has a lot of followers. I just don't want to be one, even if my TV thinks it would be good for me. My TV also focuses on anything to do with Rachel Ray.

Equally weird, before Rachel Ray and the cattle-auction-without-end came into my life, the TV would freeze on any channel with a show featuring actor Treat Williams. I am still not familiar with his work, but he seems to be cast as a kindly dad/husband who is either listening to his wife or counseling his kids. I don't know more than that because the TV always stops at the same scene, freezes, then moves on. I think it may be shown to convicted felons as part of the rehabilitation process.

Bottom line is ... my TV has got a mind of its own.

Like Churchill, I will never give in. Never.

I am checking my Geek Squad contract to see if they make house calls for exorcisms. Wonder what that will cost.


Mike has spent the majority of his life inside the Beltway and has an interesting and humorous perspective that he will share every Wednesday. Mike has spent his career covering the federal government for the Washington Post and now for Federal News Radio.

Mike also writes a daily column for Federal News Radio
.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)