I laughed out loud when my TV died last night
The old Zenith finally kicked last night. Time of death: 9 p.m. The last official show to appear was "The Colbert Report" on Wednesday night. The "On" mechanism made a pathetic, weak click when I hit the remote, and the screen stayed black except for a red dot in the lower right corner and a greenish blue smudge near the top. I pumped the remote a few more times, and the red dot got a little brighter, but eventually it faded to nothing, much like the Terminator's eyes when he finally succumbs to the hydraulic press. "You're terminated, m ..." well, you may know the rest.
I laughed. You see, I've been having a problem with this TV for years. I believe I've had it for about 15 years, after my previous one was boosted from my old apartment upon being burglarized. What would happen is, the "On" switch inside the TV became fickle. Sometimes it would make a nice loud pop, after which I wouldn't experience much difficulty. But if it was a click instead of a pop, the "On" would waver a little toward "Off", just enough so that I would lose the sound for sometimes as long as a good 10-15 seconds. This could happen every few minutes or so. Sometimes the picture would even flicker a little, as if the TV was trying to turn itself off. Really, really annoying.
Anyone else would have just said, "Well, time for a new one," or "Time to get it fixed." Not me. I'm highly resistant to the urge to replace gadgets and appliances until absolutely necessary, even something like a TV with a substantial problem like this. I have some issues with the idea of rampant consumerism in the first place. The pressure on Americans to go out and buy a bunch of junk that we really don't need is absolutely smothering. It reminds me of one of the first things George Bush said after the 9/11 attacks, something to the effect of make sure you keep going to the mall, or the terrorists have won.
Anyone who doubts my resolve when it comes to buying new stuff should see my cellphone. Or my tape recorder. I still don't have a digital one, like everybody else, and you know why? It still works. IT STILL WORKS.
My TV, however, doesn't work anymore. At all. I can live with that for awhile. I once boycotted my TV for something like two weeks, just on principle, not even turning it on to check the weather, prompting a friend to ask, "You're not going Aim-ish on me, are you?" Eventually, though, I will need access to the OTB channel, Comedy Central, football and hockey. A little bit of Encore and a whole lot of Turner Classic Movies. I've grown tired of the Food Network and don't watch it anymore.
I will start shopping around, though, and I'm not looking forward to it, especially with the pressure to go hi-def and all that action. I simply refuse to assign iconic status to a box that mesmerizes people like this thing does. I watch my little nephews and nieces stare at it with rapt attention -- Hip Hop Harry is my 2-year-old nieces' new infatuation -- and wonder if they shouldn't be out throwing a football around or something. But they do all of that sort of stuff, too, and they're all bright, beautiful, happy, well-adjusted kids, so I don't really worry that much.
In the meantime, I finished this week's Sports Illustrated Thursday night and highly recommend the excellent, thoroughly engrossing NFL agent cover story by Josh Luchs as told to George Dohrmann. Then I cracked open "Man and Superman" by George Bernard Shaw. No iPod, no radio, just the rain pattering outside my window. Somehow, I have lived to tell the tale.