GAMBLE: I’m hungover from my TV

I am suffering from a terrible hangover. And it’s from my TV.

I don’t watch much of it while at school. I’m an antsy person. Even napping — a popular college activity — feels like a waste of time. I lie in bed, mulling over the other things I could, and should, be doing.

But that to-do list was short over break. Add seven inches of snow and plummeting temperatures and I was left with a lot of tube time.

So, I sampled a variety of shows, throwing standards to the wind. I watched embarrassing amounts of reality TV, the rail drink of entertainment. The list was long and colorful: “Cheaters,” “Bad Girls Club,” “My Half-Ton Dad,” “Sex Rehab,” “Teen Mom,” “Hoarders,” “Jersey Shore,” and “My Shocking Story: My Giant Head.”

I swear I did not make that last one up.

The kicker was when I realized at 1 a.m. that one of the new Real World housemates was my classmate in grade school. My sister walked into the room to find me with my elementary school yearbook, looking up this kid’s picture, while the Real World housemates argued about God on the screen. She dryly told me I needed to get more sleep.

She was probably right. It didn’t take long for me to feel sick and remorseful that I had ever consumed these shows. If I focused hard enough, I could almost feel my brain turning into mush. I popped Advil for what felt like a headache, but it was probably just brain cells dying.

Reality TV has always been pretty tasteless, but I never realized how low it has gone until I watched way too much of it. Why can any person that is slightly dysfunctional have an entire TV show? More importantly, why do I find myself watching it?

In the early days, I thought reality TV was just a fad, much like auto-tune or mood rings, that would eventually fall out of style. Looks like I was wrong. It’s never going away. In fact, it will only get worse.

Professor Debra Oswald, a social psychologist, said shows continue to grow more vulgar and shocking to keep up with viewer expectations. We have a high tolerance for weirdos these days. Five years ago we thought “Survivor” was wacky. Now shows are so bizarre that being stranded on an island seems as ordinary as buying milk at Walgreens.

Oswald also said one of the reasons people may be drawn to reality TV is because it often serves as a downward social comparison, allowing them to measure their lives against those who are worse off and feel better.

So, when my 1994 Buick Century dies at a stop light, or when I twist my ankle in heels and eat pavement on Wisconsin Avenue — it’s OK. I can go home and watch a boy have a breakdown when he has to throw away used Band-Aids on “Hoarders.” Or I can watch Snooki on “Jersey Shore” get punched in the face by some dude. And suddenly my life is gold.

And I’ll admit this used to work. Before writing this column, that is. Now after sitting and writing this out, I feel like a voyeuristic scumbag. I never want to watch reality TV again. I am admitting myself into “TV Rehab” — and no, Dr. Drew, you’re not invited.

This resolution seemed like a stretch at first, possibly even more challenging than my resolution to lay off Diet Coke. But then I came back to Milwaukee, and realized it might not be hard at all.

Last weekend I found myself at a bar surrounded by not one, but seven Elvis impersonators. There was also a socially awkward office party where co-workers got anxious and then got drunk. One middle-aged man did the fish on the dance floor in khaki pants while a plethora of Elvises sang “Blue Suede Shoes.”

When you have a reality as bizarre as that, I might as well throw my TV out the window. So heads up if you’re walking down Wells Street.