If you want to know what’s on the TV around here, it’s usually Tater. As a television, ours is a really good cat heater. Tater likes to watch videos on the computer screen, preferably while sitting on the nice nubbly keyboard, but even she won’t watch our TV. It might well be the crappiest TV in America. It’s old. If you come over to watch football on our TV, the game will always be between the dark green uniforms and the even darker green uniforms. The players will be wearing leather helmets.
There must have been a time this TV was new. For a while there we had new TVs all the time, due to our frequent contributions to the street-drug and window-glass trades. I do remember Dave coming home with this one. Neither of us likes shopping. We’re liable to snap up the one closest to the front door in the store; there will have been no consumer research involved. We grab and go, knowing our purchase will instantaneously lower the price of the same item in stores all over town. So Dave went out to fetch us a new TV with the same attitude he might replace butter, and whichever salesman was closest to the front door was in luck, unless he screwed up. This one screwed up.
Dave was standing between two televisions, a thoughtful expression on his face (“eeny-meeny-miney-mo”), and the salesman came up to offer assistance. “Well,” Dave started, and the guy said “you don’t want this one.” He pointed.
“I don’t?” Dave said. He didn’t, actually. The other one looked a little better.
“No. This one still has rounded corners on the screen. They’ve gone over to square corners now, like this one.”
Dave gave him the drilling stare, to which he was immune. “So you think I’ll be missing a lot up there in the corners?”
“You don’t want the round corners. That’s old. None of them will have round corners soon.”
|Actual unretouched photo|
Dave is old. Unwittingly the salesman had just provided Dave with a reason to buy the old-style TV. Dave distrusts newness on principle. Dave also dislikes doing something just because that’s what everyone else is doing. That’s why he stayed registered a Republican forty years after he voted for his last one. If you want him to quit wearing something, tell him it’s fashionable. Dave took his business elsewhere. He came home with a new TV. It had square corners, but nobody at that store pointed it out.
When I was little, our family was several years tardy picking up our first TV, but when it came, it thudded into the house and squatted heavily in the corner. It was a massive piece of furniture with a screen embedded in the center like a navel jewel in a plump belly dancer. When you turned it on, you could hear the electrons swarming. A star would appear and then nova into Donna Reed. We didn’t watch it much. Back then TVs didn’t run that many hours or on that many channels, and ours got fewer hours and channels than most, because Daddy was our never-remote control. Mickey Mouse never squeaked in our living room, because Daddy thought Walt Disney was a fascist. Later, Mission: Impossible was banished after one viewing, because Daddy didn’t approve of cheering for a CIA-facsimile to infiltrate foreign countries and conduct secret operations. Hogan’s Heroes were out because Nazis weren’t funny. It’s a wonder I didn’t rebel my way into the right wing.
TVs got better. Some families that were not ours got remote controls, and then they started coming out with color sets. “Do you want your children to grow up thinking baseball is played on gray grass?” went one advertisement. Already, the notion of punting the kids outside to roll on their own lawn was getting quaint.
When I was in college, someone brought a significantly better TV back to his apartment. It was amazingly clear. It was a Sony Trinitron. Soon, all TVs were that good. Now, they’re all so amazing they can even refill your chip bowl. The actors can pitch Chex Mix into your slackened jaw. Soon, they’ll be able to check your insulin level and speed-dial the ER.
Our TV does have a remote control, and sometimes it will change the channel for you if you’re really precise with your thumbnail, but you can’t turn it on or off with it, or mute or adjust the volume. We had a TiVo once but the TV slit its throat in the middle of the night. The whole screen is dark, and if you’re watching one of those dramas that takes place in the alleyways at night, it’s more of a radio.
But it’s not dead yet, and we’re keeping it. There is a neat diagonal striping down the entire face of the TV at all times, like a Mad Men tie. Call me fancy, but I’m hoping to achieve argyle.
Late-breaking news: mere days after this post was written, nephew Michael came over with his old TV because he bought a better one. Dave accepted it with gratitude and regret. He is a faithful guy, and he had hoped to be watching the old one when it blew up, but even he admits the new one is a big improvement. I discovered that some of my favorite shows are not deliberately edgy and dim, and Dr. House’s gang does indeed do surgery with the lights on. I like it. At least it’s not a flat-screen.
The pointy corners aren't as good. The cats don't find them inviting.
Next time you need to buy a TV, ignore the sales people; just bring Tater (perhaps lightly chilled) to the store, turn him loose, and see which one he sits on.
Great line: "That's why he stayed registered a Republican forty years after he voted for his last one."
I'm of the opinion that if it doesn't weigh as much as my youngest child, it can't possibly be a *real* TV. But we live in the city and don't get any reception — we're sending our kids to college with the money we saved by not getting cable — and quality doesn't matter much if you're only watching decade-old videos.
Yes, a flat screen TV would simply NOT work for cat warming. I think you have found a jewel in your old Dave. He's a keeper, even if he is old. 🙂
So are you keeping the old tube to warm your Tater?
We have a tube TV with no cable so watching the Stanley Cup this year was mostly an exercise in problem solving. After we'd tipped the TV antenna box into a completely vertical position we could get the channel it was on, but trying to distinguish the puck from the snow (remember snow?) meant that the eventual reason we had a riot in this town was really just a theoretical exercise for us.
We had an old CRT TV with the color slowly separating, until my best friend said 'She wanted to do something nice for us'. A week before Christmas I received a cryptic message via Facebook to 'go check your porch', and when I did, I discovered 1/3 of it was occupied by a giant blue box containing 36" LCD flat screen TV. (Yes, I live in Mayberry, where the UPS man was perfectly comfortable LEAVING an LCD TV on a porch and going away without obtaining a signature) Its the only non-secondhand item occupying a piece of furniture (and the piece of furniture it occupies is second hand) in the house. She also sent us Roku, which enables us to watch all our Netflix instant play on the actual TV instead of on the 11" mini laptop screen perched on top of our laundry hamper. (There are no comfy chairs in the office where our desktop computer is.)So we've been sort of herded into the 21st century. To assuage our guilt we watch the West Wing on our new TV. (Via Netflix)
But Shieldmaiden, you do have comfy chairs in the laundry room? Whoa. Excellent. Andrea, whatever happened to snow? I think it got replaced by transitory cubism. We went to a Super Bowl party up in the mountains one year in the eighties and the screen slowly got snowier and snowier and we asked the owner what was going on, and he said "it's snow." Well we knew THAT. But he meant someone in town needed to go clear snow out of the dish.
I wish you lived next door: we just got my nearly blind Mom a high definition flatscreen and her perfectly good former tv is sitting here. We are befuddled about getting rid of it because no one wants it because it isn't the size of a pool table, can't hang flat on your wall and can't take your blood sugar readings. Free, to a good home.
My Mom held the same opinion about Walt Disney! After he killed umpteen cats making The Incredible Journey, she wanted to stick pins in a Walt doll. Laughed out loud at the tv being more of a radio!
A true Father Knows Best moment: "Nazis are not funny." They weren't in our house either. Elaine
No TV for us, instead we spend the money on lots of books. Our old TV was a hand-me-down from my grandma , but we did just upgrade TVs to one with a remote control for Netflixing.
My dad and I built a ginormous TV when I was in high-school. It came as a kit. Because he was colorblind, my job was to do all the soldering of the resistors. He couldn't tell the stripes apart. I also had to solder in the transistors, because his fingers were too large to hold them very well. Since I was already doing that soldering, I did all the capacitors too. Wait a minute…for the first time ever I just realized he might not have done anything other than lift the tube into place and held it while I screwed in the bazillion screws. I better call him and ask what that was all about, making me build him a TV!
Disney escaped my father's disapproval somehow, but yes, we had to watch Hogan's Heroes and Mission Impossible surreptitiously, for the same reasons. Likewise all the old Westerns. Now that I think of it, it really is a wonder that I never became a Republican, in sheer self-defense! Fortunately, my Dad was so TV illiterate that unless a German uniform or a shooting cowboy was actually on the screen we could usually suggest to him it was some documentary about tunnel digging or horsemanship, as he wandered through the living room on the way to the lab.
My 14-year-old tech savant doesn't understand why I smack the side of the computer monitor when the page doesn't load right away. Maybe I'll show him this post so he realizes I'm not the only dinosaur around.
None of those ancient CRT's for me. No-sir-ree-bob. I want the latest and greatest high-def, jumbo flat screen with theater surround sound. Too bad I can't afford all that. Drats.
We inherited an old Sears tv from Shel's parents. They'd had it for about 20 years, and we kept it another 15. Finally gave in two years ago and got a flat screen with all the bells and whistles. Then we built a digital antenna out of a paint can so we could watch the Dolphins embarrassing us weekly. Apart from such late year masochistic pursuits I don't think we watch for 10 hours a year apart from Wimbledon. We're with you in spirit, if not in detail.
I still have my 32 inch Mitsubishi tube TV and it's great. When it broke 2 years ago, I paid $400 to have it fixed rather than buy a new one. It's now 17 years old and the repair guy said it's good to go probably for another 15. I just hope I am.
A few years ago we went in search of a small used TV with attached DVD player to use in our house in Mexico to watch movies. We didn't need new or an expensive flat screen. We hit all the pawn shops in Austin and found out they call all those dinosaurs round TVs. Who knew?
Well, you two are very similar to my hubby and me. We don't find people like us very often, that is why we spend our time just the two of us. We have an older TV that we use to watch DVDs. We do not watch TV, haven't seen any TV in six years. Do not miss it at all. When I stopped watching TV I had HD flat screen huge thing on the wall. Got rid of that and surround sound and all the various pieces. Kept the good DVD player. We watch Netflix movies on one of our computers more often than a DVD. I like your story about how Dave shops, go in and buy and get out. That is how we are too.
We have a TV like that as well, though more heavily into the violet color scale. Similar remote, it seems to work if we shake it threateningly toward the tube. It gets intimidated and agrees to change the channel. For all intents and purposes we usually give up trying the change the channel by convincing ourselves that there probably is nothing on the other basic cable channel we want to watch anyway.
Remember the days when you had to put tinfoil on the rabbit ears or make the youngest kid hold onto them in just the right place in order to get reception? Well, they're back. Since we were treated to new, improved digial tranmission, we can receive, unreliably, precisely five channels of the tantalizing dozens of "no signal" channels that are ostensibly available here in the Nation's Capitol. And that's with the extra antenna contraption we purchased that is bigger than our tiny kitchen TV. The whole point of the kitchen TV was to be able to catch the news while cooking dinner but alas, only the Faux News channel comes in. Conspiracy?
I grok Dave entirely. It's some sort of reverse snobbism: we're too good for your materialistic yearnings, you pop culture, pop tech addicts who never think higher thoughts. It took me decades to get a microwave and only a few weeks to discover that they are only good for warm-ups and popcorn. I'm holding out on e-books until authors figure out how to autograph them at signings (a built-in etch-A-sketch, perhaps).
On the one MSNBC "news" show we watch regularly, they've begun showing commercials for dog gum spray, featuring lots of shots of unsprayed dog gums. We've discovered that turning off the monitor and just going with the sound works relatively well to keep the gross-me-out frizzikins under control. If they ever invent smellavision, I bet there's a profound change in programming.
I remember when my father came home announcing that he was going to do some fancy work on our TV to make it a color TV. And he did. He affixed a colored plastic over the screen….the lower third was green, the middle third colorless, and the top blue. It worked fine for westerns, with the blue sky and green prairie. It wasn't quite as good in the saloon parts.
My dog emits odors that interferes with TV transmission or maybe just our sight I'm not sure. We go to a movie once a month. When I was a kid my mom sent away for a Tom Terrific TV kit. you put a plastic film over the TV and then Tom would tell you to draw a rock with your crayon so he could throw it at the bad guy, Worked kinda like windows.