• Jerry L. Burrell

Telling Stories

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

Day 13 of my 21 day writing challenge




“I don’t have a TV” I used to say with pride and a bit of snobbery.


It was usually in response to questions like, “Did you see Miami Vice last night?” or “You know that character the soup nazi on Seinfeld?”


My parents were avid readers and as a result I read a lot and became comfortable with learning through reading. I did watch TV quite a bit as kid and I remember the after school mind numbing re-run routine of Gilligan’s Island​, McHales Navy, I Dream of Jeannie​ and Hogan's Heroes


It was in middle school but especially high school that TV slowly lost it’s importance. There were so many other things to do that I didn’t want to miss out on and the 70's & 80's TV options didn’t do much for me . There was also that thing called homework.


In all of my adult life, I’ve owned a couple TV’s and never subscribed to cable. In my 30’s, I bought a TV because it had a VCR built into it that I used to watch our High "Impact" Squad​ promo videos on. I could also patch our video camera into it and watch dunk shows we recorded. I bought the second one a few years ago so that my Mom could stream shows when she visited.


I didn't realize it until later in life that I was kind of a snob when it came to watching TV. There is nothing wrong with my choice to spend my time reading, writing, thinking, living and avoiding the constant barrage of the corporate machine that TV enables, but I took it too far. I came to see TV as a waste of time, which meant a waste of life. Who would waste their life doing something so trivial?


This mindset was reinforced by the various gurus that I payed attention to while seeking to become a better me in my 30’s.

If you watched TV, I pigeon-holed you as someone with nothing better to do or worse, as someone with no life. Just like with any prejudice, this often created division. Nothing major but enough that I missed out on connecting with people that may have otherwise enlightened and/or challenged me.


I’m glad I began to understand the power video stories have to impact perceptions and even change culture especially stories that are well told. If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a million.


Now that technology allows for easy access to some of the greatest storytellers and their stories, I no longer attribute lack of ambition to tv watchers. I am inspired and stand in awe at some of what is written and produced for the screen today.


I find that a short conversation with friends and strangers about Black Mirror​, Scandal​ or any PBS​ Documentary can result in greater insight about a topic or even lead to an epiphany that lay just under the surface. It also results in connection and that’s a good thing.


I have recently begun to experiment with short videos that hint at a bigger story. These videos are targeted at members of the US FreesTYle dunk community and are designed to inspire them to help write that bigger story through membership in the United States Freestyle Dunk Federation​


It’s part of an overall effort to connect the community and combine our strengths so we can drive the direction of our sport and not just be leveraged by others who exploit the value of what we do.


I’m glad that I’ve grown beyond my feelings of superiority about TV watching but I still have some work to do as I now catch myself proudly stating, “I’ve never had cable, just wi-fi!”


I remain grateful!








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