Ok. So this is my first blog post.
We are in the midst of the coronavirus craziness, and most of you spending more time at home (at least that what you are supposed to be doing) , so hopefully my blog will provide you with an escape from the toilet paper hoarding, hand-washing and social distancing. A little laughter is the perfect antidote for the bad news that seems to be everywhere.
Just like most of you, my world had been turned a bit upside-down lately, but the good news is that our family has been forced to actually spend some time together, and that’s a very good thing; giving us more time together to argue and annoy each other. We have been watching a little too much TV and that reminds me of a story when we had a whopping three channels to pick from, and television sets weighed as much as a baby elephant.
Enjoy my childhood reminiscence and be safe. Now go wash your hands.
Tower of Power
Few people can brag that they had the Eighth Wonder of the World erected in their house. I can. And all because my dad was incredibly thrifty, and maybe just a wee bit lazy.
My father loved console TV’s. I suspect it was because they were just so BIG. You felt like you were getting something for your money, even if it was just mostly a big wooden box containing a slightly-less-big TV, with two hideous burlap-y covered speakers built into the front.
My dad’s love affair with these giants lasted well into the 1980’s, when he finally located one (who knows where) for the master bedroom. Mom was hardly thrilled, but tolerated this quirky addition, and it was placed against wall facing the bed—an ideal spot for watching Johnny Carson and the late news. It worked perfectly for about three years. Then sizzle, pop, and the screen went black. The audio; however, remained crisp and clear.
My dad recognized an opportunity to avoid the hassle and backache of disposing of the 75-pound monster by plopping a slightly smaller console TV on top of the first one. This was in the days before Craigslist and Ebay, so I am not exactly sure where he found it, but the second story of this monstrosity was now complete.
The structure looked reasonably safe, but Dad warned me, “Just don’t lean against it!” and my Mom just sighed when asked for an explanation.
This second TV completely died after about two years of dedicated service. What now? Surely my Dad would get rid of their carcasses and start afresh? Of course not. The search began for yet another console TV, and Dad was positively giddy when he located one.
My mom and I watched in stunned silence as my two older brothers hoisted a third TV on top. Just barely skimming the ceiling, this teetering tower was at once frightening and awe-inspiring; a testament to one man’s quest for tacky audio-visual furniture. And we were given strict instructions: approach it slowly and allow a wide berth when walking past.
A year later, a freakish stroke of luck guaranteed that the tower was here to stay. One evening, in the middle of one of Ed’s McMahon’s almost-witty comebacks, the TV went completely silent yet Ed remained on-screen in all his Zenith Patented-Color- Demodulator-Circuitry-Beauty. Dad was ecstatic!
He ushered all of us into the bedroom and happily explained the new, fairly complicated procedure: turn on the bottom and top TV’s to the same channel; the bottom remote controlled volume, and the top remote controlled the picture. My mom soon became a whiz at toggling between the two remotes.
It was a bittersweet day when my Dad finally decided the threat of the tower collapsing and either destroying the floor (or slightly worse) harming his family was not worth the risk. The tower was dismantled, and a boring, basic, brand-new TV took its place. After years of watching TV by staring almost straight up to ceiling, I think Mom was a little relieved when she only needed one remote and could look straight ahead.
Life returned to normal, until my Dad announced he had “found a guy.” Mom had had enough. As I saw three remotes fly past his smiling face, Dad changed his mind as quickly as Mom changed channels; a single TV was dull but perfect.
So that’s all for now. Stay healthy and safe.