Do people realize what’s on television?

Television is an amazing invention. There are educational programs to enlighten, news programs to inform and entertainment programs to, well, entertain. (There is also that secret category containing such shows as “Perfect Strangers” which falls into the category “I sold my soul to Satan to keep my show on the air,” but that’s not something that can be touched on in one column’s space).

By some fluke of nature, I was asked to partake in the Arbitron ratings, watching what I usually watch and keeping track of it in a log book. They even sent me two dollars so I’d return it on time, completed.

I used to think I watched too much television, but now I realize it’s the quality, not the quantity. While filling out my log book, I actually began to pay attention to everything that was happening on my set.

Not having cable means you’re stuck with Rockford stations. Now, I have nothing against the city itself, but the local commercials look like something off of Cable 10-Aurora that fall between segments of “Wayne’s World.” Either that or the commercial ends and you wonder why the Energizer Bunny didn’t come rolling across the screen.

It’s scary when you start realizing these commercials you may mindlessly be watching are for things like “The Club”—a protective police device being pitched by a man who starts off with “I’m not an actor…,” “The Psychic Hotline”—for only $3.99 a minute you can be like the spokeslady and win the Lotto seven times or my personal favorite, “The Flowbie”—the amazing, vacuum-like haircutting appliance.

Of course, every once in a while there are important commercials on. The political ones are even intriguing. I’ve seen Al Hofeld on the screen so many times, I feel like he’s a personal friend.

The person I was watching it with commented that she thought he looked like a trustworthy guy and she’d probably vote for him. After she left, I saw an anti_Al Hofeld commercial, exposing some of the things he did wrong.

This got me thinking. After seeing this commercial I began to wonder if other people were only seeing the good things about politicians. I’m not saying yea or nay to Hofeld, I’m just saying that with any voting decision or any decision at all, the big picture has to be looked at.

Second incident to be cited in this whole big picture idea was the meningitis scare at other Illinois Universities. Yesterday they started giving out free vaccinations to undergraduate students at the University of Illinois because there’s a possibility of catching meningitis on their campus, which can be fatal.

On the news, students interviewed were being asked if they would go to get the vaccine. One guy said no. He said he didn’t consider himself at risk and the place to get the shot was too far from his apartment.

Now there’s logical thinking. “It won’t happen to me” logic.

People have to start looking at the big picture while at the same time not being oblivious to what’s happening right next door. It’s not always something easy to see, but it could result in who ends up with a voice in your government or what happens to your life. There’s always a big picture involved, but that’s the whole point. You have to see it first.