Sitting in the back row of U.S. Political Systems the other day, I listened to a lecture about libertarian principles and the rights of man. (Please, before you stop reading – this article is about TV, not government.) Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are values so integral to humanity that blood was shed by revolutionaries so the values could be upheld and enforced by a true and honest government. From experience, I know that they still apply today, perhaps more than ever. There is something out there, something that touches our lives that is so pure and wonderful that it rivals democracy itself: satellite television.

That’s right, my friends: the dish. Every Sunday, thanks to the good people who bring me NFL Sunday Ticket, the wholesome goodness of every single play of every single game flows out of the television into my retinas no matter how much important stuff I have to do. This has to be the greatest invention ever. Move over wheel and sliced bread – this is unreal. I can’t even start to think about the NCAA tournament. I shiver in anticipation even thinking about having all those games.

Unfortunately, this presents a serious problem. Anything this important needs an established set of rules and regulations to keep from corrupting and dishonoring what we cherish most. So, here are some of the rules that I’ve come up with to help keep order and sanity while spending time with 80 of your closest friends watching football.

First, there needs to be some sort of democratic method to establish the premier game of the afternoon. There has to be one game you follow, otherwise you see so many plays from so many games that you’ll think Brett Favre is now punting for Jacksonville. The best way to determine this is through a basic democratic process of voting, but if you live there, you may want to exercise some executive authority to veto the random Panthers fans that your buddy brought over. Just because you get them all doesn’t mean that you can devote equal time to each of them. Anyone with the dish that watches as much of a Bengals-Texans game as a ‘Niners-Raiders game should have their remote control and dish taken away and given to someone who will use it more wisely.

Then, there’s remote control duty. Whoever has the remote needs to be vigilant, attentive and thick-skinned. There are seven football games on at the same time. Commercials are wholly unacceptable. Feel free to yell and harass the bearer of the remote control if any advertising at all comes onto the screen. If they are grossly negligent in their duties, they must be impeached. A Senate-style two-thirds majority isn’t necessary; a simple majority should do.

Next is the issue of seating. This is key. There are going to be, at best, six good seats, with many more spectators. If you get one, you have to guard it with your life. I’ve found that a simple system of “fives” works very well, but other mutually agreed upon devices may be used instead. If someone is to abandon his or her seat, it’s a free-for-all to steal it. In my experience, this may lead to a devastating chain reaction of musical chairs, causing the balance of power to be toppled and leaving one guy bitter and alone by the fridge. You may think you are almost an adult, and too close to entering the real world to be saving seats. But if that’s your argument, I’d be willing to wager that you’re just bitter because you’re always that guy by the fridge.

The final, integral step in completely wasting a Sunday in front of the television is food. There must be food present. Chips and soda is bush league, but acceptable. A case or two of beer is recommended and a call for pizza is standard.

Now, I realize that many of you are stuck with the Redskins on Fox and the Ravens on CBS. Fear not, my fellow TV-loving Americans. These rules apply to all sporting events. Soon, God willing, everyone will have the dish. I’m considering a career in politics running on the sole platform of more TV. (Well, maybe not.) And, like the Constitution, these are by no means hard and fast rules. They are subject to judicial review and amendments. You, too, can change them.

Just be sure to check with three-fourths of your friends.

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