TV between channelsI didn’t think of it at the time but now I realize I was stealing a service that I should have paid for. This sort of behaviour could be expected from a worldly person but I was a born-again Christian at the time. Here’s how I thought I was so clever when I really committed a sin.

When I moved back to the house in which I rented a room during my high school years, I discovered a cable behind the dresser. Out of curiosity, I connected it to my TV. For some reason, the previous tenant had left without canceling his subscription.

For the first three months of 1976, I enjoyed the clear reception of local and American TV channels. Gone were the ghosts and distortions I endured from the three local English language stations. I had my pick of so many wonderful channels as well. My conscience quieted down as I patted myself on the back for being so clever.

The cable company staff weren’t fooling on the first of April. I switched on the TV and found nothing but snow on all channels. I felt sad, though I suspected that would happen. For the next few years, I made do with the local stations.

Then I made another discovery in the next apartment that I moved to. Cable signals leaked out of my upstairs neighbour’s set. By adjusting the antenna, I could receive them fairly well. Once again, I felt that I was being clever when I received the cable channels without having to pay for them. I took advantage of the neighbour’s faulty connection until I moved out of that place eighteen months later.

I now realize that I was guilty of doing to others what I didn’t want done to myself. If somebody used something I paid for or that I had for sale but didn’t repay me, I would have been very upset. Yet that’s what I did to the cable company. Just because they were a big business that supplied half of Edmonton with snow-free reception didn’t give me the right to steal their service. I now am very careful not to download anything I’m not prepared to eventually pay for. In fact, I plan to buy a few software programs soon because they work so well for me. Truly, the labourers are worthy of their hire.

I wrote about similar moral dilemmas in my new book, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Amazon and Barnes & Noble distribute the e-book version of it while Virtual Bookworm stocks the paperback. My two previous books are available at the Bruce Atchison’s books link.


Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.


  1. A very thoughtly written blog entry, Bruce! We’re all guilty of doing similar things. Luckily, we see the error in our ways and realize how it would feel to be on the other side of things!

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