When trying to communicate with the people who populate my everyday life, I am accustomed to feigning interest in sporting events/players/scores to avoid marking myself as a pariah.
But lately it's been coming at me from the other direction: As often as I pretended to know who was playing in the NBA finals last week, I also found myself bluffing a working knowledge of "Game of Thrones."
Some people care about sports. The rest are watching "Game of Thrones." (The Renaissance men and women find ways to connect with both — a phenomenon scientists and sociologists have referred to as "having a cable subscription.")
Then, outside of that Venn diagram, on another sheet of paper altogether, is where I exist: the guy who watches neither sporting events nor "Game of Thrones" ... but somehow found time to sit through "The Bachelorette" season premiere 1.75 times last week. (I did not, for the record, seek it out: ABC aired it twice. Not that that is any excuse.)
This reality is made more pathetic by the fact that I don't even like "The Bachelorette." I find it inferior to its predecessor, "The Bachelor" (an opinion my lawyer advised me not to share with anyone, living or dead).
Much to the detriment of my untarnished record of masculinity, ABC has branded its Monday night lineup featuring "The Bachelorette" as Man Candy Monday. (What flavor is a Man Candy jellybean: Slim Jims and back sweat?)
Currently, Man Candy Monday is the only night of television programming (outside of the Nobody Loves You Friday night lineup of "Shark Tank" and my reflection crying in the mirror) that I have an appointment to watch now that "Nashville" has ended.
But perhaps I have said too much.
I understand that I should be watching "Game of Thrones" because it's like "Lord of the Rings" with naked peeps and R-rated levels of violence (the sport games definitely cannot compete with that), but I just can't find the time/energy/bit torrent to get into it.
In addition, naked peeps and R-rated levels of violence aren't particularly family friendly — or at least, not the type of family I'm trying to provide for my daughter — so that means I only have a limited window of time during which to watch it. Specifically, the three hours after my daughter goes to sleep before my body shuts down.
But those three hours are already jam-packed with essential activities. Those are the hours I have to read the internets, eat the ice cream and say the curse words for the day.
Television, at this point, has become too big of a commitment. I'm already married, so there's no chance I'm going to carve 12 hours out of my life to walk down the aisle with the Netflix original series "House of Cards." Even though it looks really attractive and everybody says we'd be great together.
The irony is obvious. Television is easier for me to watch now than it has been at any point during my lifetime. I am old enough to remember life before DVR: back when you had to program that other acronym, the VCR, to record a specific channel at a specific time, and god help you if it was preempted by a presidential address or extra innings of a baseball game.
You really had to want to see your television show back then because it required you to read a bunch of stuff first — not only the VCR manual, but also the TV Guide.
These days, I can watch TV on my TV, TV on my computer, TV on my reading tablet, TV on my cellphone. I can, and have, watched television in my bathroom — thus fulfilling a lifelong dream I thought would only be achieved through a "King Ralph"-style inheritance of untold riches. But even though watching "The X-Files" on the commode has been a dream of mine since I was a child, I don't find myself doing it very often.
One reason is that I discovered the toilet was not built for enduring long-form entertainment, after an extended sit-in caused the seat to suction itself to my rear end and rip from the base as I stood up.
The magazine was invented in conjunction with the toilet and was originally designed to provide entertainment and sanitation functions. A magazine article is the right size, both literally and figuratively, to get the job done.
I have also found that when I'm in a place where there's no computer blinking or TV flashing its millions of pretty, hypnotic colors, I just like to sit and blankly stare at stuff, like bathroom tiles and tree stumps and the recycling bin.
With all of the flashing lights competing for my attention 24/7, the old eyeballs get overworked. Sometimes they just want to chill out for a minute, and kick back by the saliva that pools on my lower lip.
Ryan Jackson has found its best to seem enthusiastic and vague when talking about sports teams you do not know, and he can be reached at email@example.com.