During my annual flurry of pre-holiday cleaning I decided to tackle the dust coating our television. After removing the protective quarter-inch of fuzz, the machine suddenly made a frightening buzzing sound, flashed me farewell and departed into the great beyond.
It was an old machine, one of those boxy suckers that weighs more than a small car. But I’d grown attached to it and also knew hubby would not survive without his daily dose of the War Channel.
I called him at work with the bad news. But he didn’t react as I expected, with words of recrimination for dusting, therefore destroying his pet appliance. “It was an ancient TV,” he said consolingly. “It’s time to upgrade.”
It was then I realized he’d actually been praying for its demise, secretly lusting after one of those flat screen creations. He acted quickly, contacting our sons who would be arriving within a day for Thanksgiving. He gave them the dimensions of the space in our entertainment cabinet, and instructed the eldest to front the money for the purchase and the youngest to utilize his expertise in technology to get us the most bang for the buck.
Later that day they called in from their location at a display of the best and brightest of modern televisions with a predictable comment: “What you’ve budgeted just won’t cut it.”
“Have you tried Big Lots?” I asked them. “I keep seeing these great deals from them.” They laughed cruelly and threatened to put the call on speaker phone so everyone could mock their parents’ lack of understanding about today’s technology and its toll on our pocketbook.
We finally told them that they were spending their legacy, so go ahead and bring us whatever they determined would serve us best.
I picked them up the next night at the airport and we barely fit them, their luggage and the large boxes containing viewing pleasure into our car. As soon as we arrived home they hugged their dad, kissed the dogs and started in assembling the flat screen, with a stereo system with four speakers.
I thought the number of wires and electrical cords were daunting until they pulled out the THREE separate remotes required to control the system. Cold fear ran through my veins, knowing that hubby and I are woefully inept in punching more than one or two buttons in succession. It’s taken us years to master the workings of our toaster and get golden-tinted crust instead of charcoal.
“This is a piece of cake,” said our youngest. “First, you use this remote to turn on the TV….of course you need to check the Dish remote and make sure that one is set to SAT… and the source must be on Channel 3. Then you turn on this other remote for the stereo to control the sound. Now, to get optimal sound you need to deal with two of the remotes…”
“How do I select a channel?” asked my husband.
“Oh, that’s the Dish remote, but you can toggle between the inputs for TV or DVD using the source button on the TV remote.”
“I don’t think I can do this, said hubby in a sad, weary voice. “What I want is another TV just like the one that died.”
What followed, dear readers, was a marathon session of techno-babble, a great deal of whining from hubby, and finally our youngest proclaiming: “As God is my witness, I will never again deal with technology during a holiday!”
The next morning dawned with hubby in his robe trying to tune in the news with the three remotes…predictably a disaster. “Just pack it up in the boxes and take it back!” he roared.
At that point the boxes had already been dismantled and turned into targets in the woods for sighting in deer rifles. I said I didn’t think the folks at Magnavox would accept bullet ridden containers. So, the youngest son wrote up a manual – 4 full, typed pages, folks – photos of our remotes with all buttons labeled, and idiot-proof (translation: old parent-proof) instructions.
We’re making progress. I only hit a “wrong” button occasionally now, and quickly refer to what we call our “Jitter Bug” manual to get back on track.
I’m thinking a number of you out there will be facing similar problems with a new Christmas TV this year. If you get too frustrated, just give us a call. For only $19.95 we’ll mail you a copy of our special instructions. Act NOW and I’ll throw in a personal in-home seminar with our youngest son!