TVs, Now and Then
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The TV in our family room was starting to look like an antique, and it was time to upgrade. I had overheard some friends at our last dinner party talk about taking up a collection for us. Apparently they didn't like watching the game on a screen smaller than the side of our garage.

I knew the screens had gotten bigger since we bought our last set, but I didn't realize all the choices we were up against when we started to shop for a new model.

I try not to buy anything without doing a little research so I surfed the Internet to find the best consumer rated sets. I narrowed it down to a couple, and off we went to our local electronics emporium. I felt prepared and knowledgeable to make a wise purchase.

Once inside the store, it was as if we had been catapulted into a foreign land, because our salesman, Bob, was talking a language I didn't understand. Well, I understood, "How can I help you?" but after that he said something like, "Front projection, rear projection, LCD, DLP, plasma, HD, ED, FD model number ER37$*$*$$$ from China to the ninth power."

I said something profound like, "Huh?"

Bob, the automated robot, said, "What are you looking for in pixel pitch and resolution?" It was at that point my brain fell on the floor, crawled into a corner, and wished for Bob to be sucked in to one of the TVís like the girl on Poltergeist.

My husband, however, was captivated by these wonderful new concepts. Even though he's as technologically challenged as me, he acted as if he knew what Bob was talking about because he started clapping, jumping up and down, and yelling "It's a miracle!"

I guess the thought of watching sports on a massive screen TV in high definition was just the ticket my husband needed for his mid-life crisis. So much for all my research. So much for our budget. So much for my husband ever having the need to talk to me again.

My husband had found a new best friend in Bob while my brain, still curled up in a ball in the corner, was plotting to blow up the TV store.

The last time I bought a TV, the salesman said something like, "Do you want this set or that one?" Now that I understood. I was just pleased to know that it had a remote control with an on/off switch. Now, the remotes are as big as refrigerator doors, and if I'm not mistaken they have two buttons, when if pushed at the same time, will launch a space shuttle from NASA.

While Bob was discussing "comb filters and matrix crystals" with my husband, my brain was wishing for the days when we had the old black and white sets that offered us three channels that could only be changed if you were energetic enough to get out of your chair.

The technology back then was pretty straightforward. In order to get a good picture, an antenna had to be held by someone, across the room, while turning one leg in at a 47 degree angle and using a free arm to wave bye-bye with a piece of tin foil.

I believe that's how Tai Chi originated.

There was nothing I liked better than watching my younger brother play the "Antenna Monster." We made up that name, so he would think it was a fun game to wear tin foil for shoes and hold the antenna behind his back while standing on a window ledge, as the rest of us watched Ed Sullivan from the comfort of our couch.

It wasn't until cable television was introduced to us that we would be antenna free. And it came just in time because at that point my brother was old enough to realize we were using him as an electronic device. To this day, he still won't eat anything wrapped in foil.

To think we actually thought using a food wrap was technology at its finest. And how did we ever live with only three channels? Now we have over two hundred, yet we still only watch three because nothing is on the other one hundred and ninety seven. So how far have we gotten, really?

Well, Bob got pretty far with our credit card as the price of these new TVs are astronomical. My husband ended up buying a flat panel LCD HDTV. I only know this because on the way home from the store, he kept clapping and chanting it over and over again. Apparently Bob taught him how to speak his language while my brain was in the corner realizing I'm as outdated as our old TV.

It hasn't been delivered yet so I'm not exactly sure what to expect-although my husband has been moving furniture in the family room to make way for the new addition. He took everything out but his chair.

I have to admit I felt a little left out when I saw what he did, but that didn't bother me as much as when I heard him call out Bob's name in his sleep.

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