Have you gotten lazy during the pandemic?

That might be an odd question for a lot of people around here as life hasn’t really changed all that much. Work didn’t stop, trips didn’t stop, a lot of people got lucky on not catching COVID, so it was decided everybody else overreacted, so stop carrying on.

The number of people with it is climbing again, which is a result of more testing, but not testing them wouldn’t have made it go away. But we’re here to talk about how lazy you became during the quarantine, which, while not keeping most of us at home anymore, has severely curbed outside the house activities. Yeah, baseball will be starting up again soon (has anybody really noticed major league baseball teams haven’t been playing?) and professional basketball will be playing in some kind of weird bubble, minus fans. But movie theaters still aren’t open, clubs and bars are hit and miss and restaurants all have every other table blocked off, though a disturbing number of them seem to regard masks as a hurdle not worth jumping.

What have Tennesseans been doing with all their free time? According to something called Ezvid Wiki, a survey showed that the residents of our state watched 476 hours of television to date. Broken down, that’s 43 hours a week, or about eight hours a day. So, basically, everybody watched TV nonstop during what would have been work hours.

Does watching TV make you lazy? Not necessarily. You can exercise while you watch TV. Whenever I decide to try and get in better shape so I can live an extra 53 days at the end, I will jump on a treadmill while watching TV. Occasionally, I’ll even turn it on.

We’ve all had experiences, work or otherwise, where we’ve thought, “I’d rather be at home watching TV.” All we’ve done here is cut out the middle man. Nevada and Maine tied for most hours in front of the boob tube with 519 each. Arkansas (!!) and Vermont tied for the least with 336 hours each.

This did affect exercise as being a couch potato became a popular thing. Around 33% of those surveyed said they were exercising less, though Minnesota was down only 16%. Undoubtedly all those Viking players getting ready for a Super Bowl run. One out of three of the TV watchers said they were binge watching, meaning a bunch of episodes of the same show. Also, showing that none of the “office jobs” are really all that hard, 50% admitted they watched TV during work hours. I would say if you can watch TV while working, you’re in the newspaper business, but nobody is in the newspaper business anymore.

Can we recover from this? Do we want to recover from this? Fifty-seven percent say they’ll continue watching TV in the same way. And they may also be raising another generation of couch potatoes. Fifty-nine percent said they just let the kids watch TV as it’s easier than fighting with them about it. Ever since the first TV hit the market, we’ve been accused of being a slave to the glowing box in the corner. Probably true in some cases. I usually have the TV on more often than not, though most of the time, especially during summer, it’s just for background noise. I’m not a fan of complete silence.

But if you’re watching TV for eight hours a day, that’s pretty much a full time job. As long as the weather stays nice, get outside a little. It’s not gonna stay 148 degrees for the rest of time.

Take a walk, hang out on the front porch, if you have one, even take a drive. And put on a mask if you’re around people you don’t know. Yeah, I understand, those are fighting words and who am I to take away your freedom to get a disease you hadn’t heard of five months ago and die?

But before the pandemic you were a reasonable person who put on a seatbelt, realized smoking only served to kill and discretely covered your mouth when you coughed. One more thing shouldn’t turn you into somebody I don’t recognize.

But here we are.

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