The Man with “Television Addiction” Threatens to Sue Cable Company

by | Jan 15, 2004 | POLITICS

Accusing his cable company of “addicting” him, his wife and his kids to TV, a Wisconsin man threatened to sue Charter Communications. Tim Dumouchel of Fond du Lac said his family’s viewing habits — forced on him by cable TV — caused his wife to become overweight and his children to grow lazy. But wait, […]
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Accusing his cable company of “addicting” him, his wife and his kids to TV, a Wisconsin man threatened to sue Charter Communications. Tim Dumouchel of Fond du Lac said his family’s viewing habits — forced on him by cable TV — caused his wife to become overweight and his children to grow lazy.

But wait, Mr. Dumouchel later said that, no, he finds his cable company liable because the company continued providing service when the man requested its cancellation. How long did the company continue providing service? For four years after the request for service termination.

Why not simply disconnect the box or cut the cord? Well, said Dumouchel, he thought such an act illegal and did not wish to face prosecution. Why not simply refuse to watch? He said that his remote control exerted a power so irresistible that he could not force himself to stop watching.

There’s more. Dumouchel claims he previously gave up drinking and smoking, habits he resumed after the installation and pernicious influence of cable TV.

Also, according to the Fond du Lac Reporter, Dumouchel threatened the cable TV company when, apparently, a supervisor did not promptly talk to him. According to the police report, Dumouchel said that if a supervisor failed to quickly speak with him, someone would be “swimming in the ocean with the sharks.” Dumouchel later said that by “sharks,” he referred to the media.

Dumouchel also retreated a bit on his kids and wife. He now says he never accused his kids of laziness (although the police report says so). He also says that his wife became angry when he called her “fat.”

Good news, though. The cable company discontinued his service last December. But Dumouchel bought an antenna allowing him to watch the Green Bay Packers.

But why stop here? Surely Dumouchel might wish to consider other possible co-defendants. Take, for instance, the NFL. Dumouchel clearly enjoys his Packers. Following this past weekend’s entertaining but losing playoff game to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Packers might face a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

And how about those infernal, yet popular reality TV shows? In a new one, “The Apprentice,” 16 candidates compete for a high-paying job with none other than Donald Trump as the victor’s boss. The Donald gets to fire someone every week, with the last person standing inheriting a $250,000 job running some Trump enterprise. (Has anyone, by the way, informed the current holder of the job?)

How many viewers avoid their nightly pushups and sit-ups to watch Trump berate and behead the applicants? Given Trump’s deep pockets, a lawsuit against him for participating in this exercise-avoidance scheme could yield millions.

And what about Stephen King, a man who sells book after book? Surely this prolific scoundrel fattens America up with each blockbuster, forcing the unwitting reader into an unhealthful choice between a book, a couch and a bag of chips versus the closest fitness center. And what about manufacturers of couches and comfort chairs? Some stores sell lounge chairs that actually massage the back and feet, while the sitter avoids exercise. Stop the madness!

But Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., seems afflicted with the same syndrome that overtook Dumouchel. As a response to the nation’s “crisis” of obesity, Lieberman wants the Federal Trade Commission to require parental advisory labels on “junk food,” and to mandate that restaurateurs provide nutritional information on their menus.

Can the I-can’t-help-myself-someone-made-me-eat approach rescue our fat-plagued nation? Never mind studies showing that exercise significantly reduces the possibility of heart disease or other obesity-related illnesses. An overweight person who gets regular exercise reduces his health risks to the level of a thin sedentary person. But the victicrat mentality requires us to blame somebody — anybody.

As for Lieberman’s requirement that restaurateurs provide nutritional information, fight back! Put the weight-challenged on notice by providing them a separate eating section, thus insulating yourself from a lawsuit from someone claiming your delicious offerings forced him into your restaurant and literally made him overeat. Train your hostess to say, “Obese or non? Regular or morbid?” Or, insist that customers first stand on a scale, and tabulate the degree to which the customer exceeds his or her ideal weight. Refuse service if necessary.

Post a sign on the door — next to the one that says, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who enters without shoes” — with this admonition: “Warning. We retain the right to refuse service to anyone who exceeds his or her ideal weight as established by Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Federal Trade Commission, our Board of Directors, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s plaintiff’s bar.”

This editorial is made available through Creator's Syndicate. Best-selling author, radio and TV talk show host, Larry Elder has a take-no-prisoners style, using such old-fashioned things as evidence and logic. His books include: The 10 Things You Can’t Say in America, Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America, and What’s Race Got to Do with It? Why it’s Time to Stop the Stupidest Argument in America,.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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