Some people get lucky: They somehow manage to move into an apartment that's already hooked up with cable—for "free," as it were, assuming that your highly subjective personal code doesn't favor Sauron-style monopolies like AT&T n饠TCI. (Who ever said Bushido was dead anyway?1) There's no intellectual hand-wringing, no complex rationalizing regarding self-actualization and the books that you still haven't read—cable just becomes good, honest, guilt-free entertainment, like aimless masturbation or singing to your dog.
Just like the water that spouts magically from your tap, you'd be a fool not to use it. And hey, you'd probably go crazy otherwise, always imagining what might be on VH1 or UPN or TNN or TBS right this very minute as their signals are all being quietly pumped through your walls, sandwiched between parallel currents of shit and electricity. Legislation is being discussed on C-SPAN right now that could change your life.2
It's these blessed children, the cable-theft innocents, who properly enjoy the Lord's bounty. Like the worst parties and the best relationships, cable shines in its minutiae, demonstrating if not its necessity then at least its primacy as a means of avoiding work and unplanned human intimacy. Is it the early onset of Creutzfeldt-Jakob dementia,3 or is that really Jan Drago wearing a foam lightning bolt on her head during a City Council meeting on TVSea?4 Why is the Learning Channel5 so egregiously misnamed? When will Howard Stern's guest finally take off her top? Watch and see. While it might be technically illegal, stealing cable is essentially a victimless crime. Or at least the victims in this case are ostensibly pricks, and that's pretty much the same thing.
1. In fairness, the "Way of the Warrior" isn't all that specific (a common misperception), so it's hard to predict whether a samurai would be cool with cable theft or not. Then again, much of Bushido's history revolves around Zen Buddhism, especially Rinzai Zen with its emphasis on satori. And, properly used, that's just the sort of divine illumination that cable's all about.
2. It's almost certainly true, you know.
3. Get thee from Kidd Valley: Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have predicted a "hidden epidemic" of mad cow disease, a.k.a. Creutzfeldt-Jakob. While US officials still claim that CJD is virtually nonexistent in North America, the U of P researchers found that as many as 5.5 percent of all Alzheimer's patients may have been misdiagnosed carriers of the ominous-sounding "transmissible spongiform encephalopathies." A similar study at Yale predicted double that number—some 200,000 supposed Alzheimer's patients—could be victims of TSEs, foreshadowing "a biological apocalypse," in the words of Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz, that will make "AIDS seem like an appetizer at a cataclysmic picnic." Mmmm . . . brain.
4. Yes, this really happened.
5. In addition to back-to-back reality programming about people dating, people getting married, and people having babies (not necessarily, it should be noted, in that order), the Learning Channel regularly runs features like Secrets of Forensic Science—Cheerleader Murder, The Very Best of the World's Worst Drivers, and Lingerie: Bra Wars. Step aside, Fox.