Some years ago, one of the television networks promoted its prime-time programming as "Must See TV."
I don't remember which network repeatedly pushed that catchy phrase upon its viewers, but I'm thinking it was NBC.
And I certainly don't remember ever saying to my co-workers, family and friends, "Don't even think about calling me at home tonight because there's some 'must see' shows on that I MUST watch."
Very little on television ever rises to the 'must see' level.
That is, until Monday night when I needed to watch not one ... not two ... but three programs simultaneously.
Here was my game plan, since I don't have a split-screen TV that can show multiple programs:
Start with FOX at 8:07 p.m. for Game 7 of the National League Championship Series between St. Louis and San Francisco. Am I a Cardinals or Giants fan? Far from it. I'm a life-long Detroit Tigers fan and I needed to know who they would be playing (and defeating, hopefully) in the World Series.
Switch to ESPN at 8:30 p.m. for the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears. Yes, I should know better, but I'm also a life-long suffering fan of the Lions. I had to watch because how often are the Lions allowed on national TV aside from Thanksgiving Day?
Switch to NBC, or ABC, or CBS, or CNN, or another news channel at 9 p.m. for the finale of the Obama vs. Romney debate trifecta. It was the last chance for one of these guys to win me over ... or lose me.
With the remote control tightly secured in my hand, I settled in for a fast-paced evening of channel jumping.
My wife left the room.
It's time for baseball.
St. Louis looked woeful in the top of the first inning against pitcher Matt Cain, then the Giants scored in the bottom half of the inning just before the clock reached 8:30.
Off to football.
Great! The Bears are kicking off to the Lions.
First down an incomplete pass to Calvin Johnson, who had defensive back Charles Tillman draped all over him, but no penalty was called. Hey, I said I was a Lions fan.
Second down - who didn't know the Lions would run Mikel Leshoure into the middle of the line for no gain?
Third down - Calvin Johnson is open over the middle near midfield! Oops ... he drops the ball.
No need to watch the punt, it's time for last-minute predictions by a panel of news experts before the debate starts.
The biggest problem with presidential debates, I discovered, aside from the fact that the candidates never really answer the moderator's questions, is that there are no commercials.
No commercials means no built-in breaks to check the score of the baseball and football games. So I waited for my opportunity to hit the Prev Channel button on remote.
What, more on Libya? I'm gone.
Surprise ... the Bears are winning and the commentators are talking about how inept the Lions look. Yup, those are my Lions.
How's the baseball game going?
Matt Cain hasn't given up a hit and the Giants are up 2-0.
Back to the debate.
And I was in time to hear Romney criticize Obama for the U.S. having fewer ships in the Navy now than there were in 1916 and Obama counter-criticize Romney with his "fewer horses and bayonets" in the military line.
And so it went, until it became evident that a 13-0 deficit was too much for the turnover-prone Lions to overcome, the whooping and celebrating in the Giants' dugout meant the Tigers would be heading to the West Coast to start the World Series, and the candidates gave their closing statement and asked for my vote.
What a night!
Three events, one remote ... I've seen enough 'must see' TV.