David Lauderdale

David tries to cut the cord but can’t find the scissors

I’m trying to untangle my life.
I’m trying to untangle my life.


I’m trying to cut the cord, or at least peer over the cliff and see the options of life without a cable television bill.

But I’m told that you can’t get over-the-air stations on Hilton Head Island.

Are you kidding me? My mother can pick up 14 channels over the air — free for the cost of a $69 antenna. And she lives in the suburban sprawl of Zebina, Ga. The only things that can even find Zebina on a map are fire ants. That and the television signals breezing over from Augusta, almost 50 miles away.

But not here. How world-class are you if you don’t have rabbit ears?

Here we are celebrating our new gigabit internet service via fiber optic cable. And rightfully so. People all over the world are drooling for that kind of connection.

And it may be just what we need to stream live television into the house at breakneck speed with no bumps or bruises.

Have you tried Sling TV? Does it work? How about Hulu? Or Vue?

I’m looking at Sling TV. It starts at $20 a month. It’s hard for me to unbundle the bill from my friendly cable company, but if I throw out the land line, which is long overdue, and overlook the internet service ripoffs such as being forced to lease their modem, it looks like I’m paying $91 per month for HD cable flowing into two televisions, with no DVR.

And that does not include the three pages of taxes added onto that. It does, however, include $7 a month we’re paying for some sort of electronic TV guide that I do not recall asking for, certainly do not use, and definitely do not want.

But Sling TV, which streams cable channels into your computer by internet, does not have local channels. You’re supposed to be able to get them free over-the-air, with rabbit ears.

Actually, the antenna we got for my mother in Zebina looks like a mud flap, not rabbit ears. You stick it to a window. And in truth, it comes from the military technology of antennas hidden in mud flaps. And it’s made in America. And it works. Rabbit Ears 2.0.

I’d be willing to do what we did in our childhood, back in the 20th century. We would stand with one hand on a rabbit ear atop a “television set,” which could pull in three fuzzy channels that went off the air at midnight. When the wind wasn’t just right, we would wrap our bodies with tin foil and stretch our other hand out the window, holding a lightning rod. And for that, we were rewarded with the wisdom of Ricky Ricardo and Fred Mertz. The older I get, the more convinced I am that we just might not need anymore insight into the greater world than that.

I’m thinking we pay a bloody fortune to AT&T to service two smart iPhones and one very smart iPad. In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t even have a brain anymore, because Siri will look it all up for me. So if it’s not available on these smart devices, we just might not need it. There. I said it.

But we do need rabbit ears, for my college football addiction, if nothing else.


David Lauderdale: 843-706-8115, @ThatsLauderdale