After many years of faithful service, our old tele died. It was a long, protracted death as the old unit struggled gamely to life each evening, until one fateful night the picture went altogether. After observing a moments’ silence, I unplugged it and reverently tossed it into the trailer.
The next day, we learned that they don’t make tv’s like our old one anymore, so we plunked ourselves down in front of a flat screen model, and made cooing noises at the high quality pictures on display. Then I was told the price. “Not in this lifetime!” I gasped, struggling to my feet. The salesman had heard it all before and began rubbing his hands together, “Mate,” he said, handing me his card, “this is a good price, I’m sure if you shop around you won’t buy better.”
“We’ll see about that,” I muttered, tossing the card over my shoulder and walking briskly from the store. Two shell shocked hours later I was back, “I, um, seem to have lost your card mate,” I said to him, “about that tele we were looking at earlier, is it still available?”
It was, and he even helped me load it into the family hot rod. Man the Hunter and his Long Suffering Wife, returned home to the excited bleats of their family as they struggled to haul the new tv into the house. It was surprisingly easy to set up, gave our lounge room a slightly modern look and even came with several new channels that our old tele couldn’t get.
The remote control was as long as my forearm and filled with a colourful array of little rubber buttons. I spent a lot of time fiddling with it, at times dragging bleary eyed family members from their beds to show them any new features I’d discovered. For some reason, they didn’t share my excitement. The Littlest Princess though, did spend a couple of fun filled weeks riding the cardboard box down our driveway.
Unfortunately, the new technology did have a down side. At crucial moments the screen would go blank, eg: “And now ladies and gentlemen I will reveal the identity of the murderer. The killers’ name is….” No Signal.
Frantic discussions with the salesman, friends, family and workmates, revealed that this is pretty common, and that we’d just have to get used to it. As it turned out, it was the tip of the iceberg.
Apparently our ancient video recorder was incompatible with the new digital channels. Further enquiries were made at the store and my wallet cringed in terror as the salesman started rubbing his hands together again. Evidently we needed to upgrade to a new u-beaut, whiz bang high definition recorder.
“Listen mate,” I said, massaging my temples, “all I want to do is record the odd show while I’m at work. And believe me; I really don’t want to spend a thousand dollars to do this.” He shrugged his shoulders, “That’s the way it is Greg.” We were on a first name basis now.
In the end he sold me a set top box which we could hook up to the old video recorder. “This won’t tape all the channels on offer,” he warned me, “because it only has SD capability, but it will get you out of trouble til the prices come down on the new HD recorders.” I pretended to understand, took the unit home, spent an alarming amount of time getting it to work and haven’t bothered with it since.
So you can imagine how I felt when Long Suffering Wife announced that the little tele in our bedroom was now on the blink. After I’d calmed down I thought about the bright side, “Well,” I said, waggling my eyebrows suggestively, “we’ll just have to make our own entertainment from now on.” She responded by slapping me about the head with an electrical goods catalogue.