by Annette Dashofy
Let me begin with a statement of total disclosure. I do not have cable. Nor do I have satellite. Yes, I am among the dinosaurs. I use an antenna to pick up network television.
I do, however, own a pretty nice TV. Flat screen, HD, not huge, but fairly large. Hubby and I bought it a little over a year ago as our Christmas gift to each other when our old set died. So you can imagine our displeasure when it started freezing up on us. Not the usual digital hiccup where the picture pixilates and dissolves because a plane is flying over. No, this time the picture would freeze and then go to the dreaded blue screen. When we changed channels, they were all blue screen pasted with the words NO USABLE SIGNAL.
This was annoying. I’d turn the set off and wait. Fifteen to thirty minutes later, when I’d turn it back on, voila! We had our picture back. Not five minutes. Not ten. It had to be at least fifteen.
Then on Sunday, just as the final two teams were speeding to the pit stop of this week’s episode of The Amazing Race, it did it again. NO USABLE SIGNAL. Hubby screamed at the TV. He stared at the blue screen for almost a half hour. Nothing. I resigned myself to the knowledge I could find out who was eliminated from the race on the computer the next morning. Hubby demanded to know what the (bleep) was wrong with the (bleep bleep) TV.
All this led me to ponder… Do we really NEED a TV? We’re extremely short on job security around here these days, so I wasn’t keen on buying a new television when the old one was just barely out of warranty. And is there such a thing as a television repair man these days?
Twice in the years we’ve been married, we went extended periods with no television. Most recently was when our last set died and I spent some time shopping around before purchasing the current one. It was only a week or so. But back in the early 90s, when once again we were faced with a dead TV, we decided to do without. For months. Honestly, I kind of enjoyed it. We listened to the radio. We played cards and board games.
I remember listening to President Bill Clinton’s inauguration on the radio. My memories of that non-visual event are far sharper and clearer than many I’ve watched.
Eventually we did purchase a new television. I caught up on the lost months of soap operas in about ten minutes. And I can tell you I only truly missed one show: CBS Sunday Morning.
So I’d like you all to take a few minutes and think about it. Could you manage to go without your television for a week? A month? Longer? And what shows would you miss (especially if you weren’t able to watch them on your computer either)?
By the way, Hubby climbed up on our roof and cleaned the crud off the wires and connections to the antenna, and so far we’ve had no more bouts of NO USABLE SIGNAL.