Sunday, November 25, 2012

Must See TV

  On Thanksgiving weekend, I was planning on getting a new TV for the family. Wal-Mart always has good deals on TV’s for the Black Friday weekend and I was planning on heading out on Thanksgiving night to pick one up.

  That was the plan, but the massive bowl of vanilla ice cream, berries, and pound cake I had for dinner after our Thanksgiving lunch had other ideas. I passed out in a sugar induced coma around 6 and when I regained consciousness at 9:30, I figured the TV I had was just fine and went back to sleep.

  I woke up on Friday nice and early and Kathy and I took Daisy and Baxter out for their beef stick treats. There were even more specials for TV’s and laptops on Friday at Staples, Wal-Mart, and K-Mart but I was too lazy to head out to wait in line for 2 or 3 hours and wasn’t that interested in a new TV anymore.

  My dad was a TV repairman for RCA from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. This was when a television was such a big investment that people would buy annual service contracts to have repairmen come to their house whenever the TV stopped working to have the bewildering array of tubes and wires replaced or sometimes even to climb up on the roof to fix an antennae. Drug stores used to have giant tube tester machines for the do-it-yourselfers with a large stock of tubes on hand.

  Just like most auto repairmen have old cars that they can keep in good working order, we used to have older, smaller black and white televisions that people would throw out or trade in. We didn’t have a color TV until the mid-1970’s, when my brother bought one. When he moved out of the house, he took the TV with him and it was back to discarded black and white televisions, only these had solid state circuit boards instead of tubes. Once TV’s went away from tubes, traveling repairmen were hardly needed because when a TV broke they were now light enough to be taken to a repair facility.

  When I moved to Florida in 1985, I got my first color TV and I still have it today. It was around 20 inches diagonal and was plenty big at the time. While the kids have had smaller TV’s, the main family TV has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. We used my grandfather’s 25 inch console TV when he passed away. That TV broke and 6 years ago we got a 35 inch television to replace it. It was our first HD television, but since we don’t have digital cable, the only high definition television we see come from DVDs.

  On Friday afternoon I got an email from Staples letting me know that their Black Friday deals were good throughout the entire afternoon so I decided to take a look at their circular. They had a laptop nearly as good as the one I was going to get Kathy so we took a trip to Staples to get it. Staples was fairly deserted and not out of any of their Black Friday deals so we picked up the computer within 10 minutes and headed across the street to see what was going on at Wal-Mart.

  When I went to the Wal-Mart, there was a Salvation Army bell ringer at the front door and I didn’t give him any money because I’m saving my Salvation Army money for 3 weeks from now when I’ll be spending the day bell ringing. The Wal-Mart was more packed and much better picked through than the Staples, but right out front was 4 of the TV’s I was planning on getting the night before. We walked around the store, picked up a few items, and on the way out decided to get the TV. After paying for the TV, we walked it past the Salvation Army bell ringer to the car. Normally Kathy drives when we go out, but on this day we decided to take my car. This turned out to be a big problem when we discovered the TV would not fit in the back seat of my Kia Rio. It was just too big. We carried the TV back into the Wal-Mart (past the same bell ringer) and I sat on the bench by the entrance with the TV while Kathy drove my car back home and came to get me (and the TV) with the minivan.

  It was interesting sitting in the Wal-Mart entrance with this TV box that was almost as big as I was. Most people just ignored me, some looked at me with what I think was a look of admiration (‘what a big TV’), while others looked at me with a look of indignation (‘look at the show-off sitting in the entrance with his TV’), and still others with a look of disgust (‘what a tiny TV’ or ‘HA! He probably couldn’t fit the TV into his car’). One old guy in a super scooter asked me if my car had broken down and chuckled at me when I told him how the car couldn’t hold the TV.

  Finally, Kathy drove up and I passed the Salvation Army bell ringer for the fourth and last time and we put the TV in the minivan and drive home. I don't even want to know what the bell ringer thought of me after I went by him four times without dropping anything in his bucket.

  Matt was unimpressed with the 51 inch TV because he said everyone he knows has one at least that size. I can’t argue with that because I see a gigantic TV in almost every window that we walk Daisy and Baxter past. Matt also said that television shows wouldn’t look good because we only have regular cable TV and not the high definition cable or satellite dish.

  Matt’s opinions notwithstanding, I’m pretty impressed with the new TV. We watched the Avengers DVD last night and I thought it looked great. The Law & Order: Criminal Intent marathon on WGN also looked pretty good to me.

  I know that as far as big TVs go, this one is bottom shelf, but I’m impressed that I have a high definition TV that wouldn’t fit in my car when I think of the little black & white televisions I had growing up. And I learned something I didn’t know before. Now I understand why so many people have SUV’s and pickup trucks - so they can get their giant TV’s home. The only think still puzzling me is how the cavemen got their giant TV’s back to their caves from the Wal-Mart before the wheel was invented.

Ring out the old..ring in the new.