Saturday, July 10, 2010

The TV has become the penis

Readers who enjoy vicarious woe are in for a splendid couple of weeks because a wave of woe is crashing upon me.

First off, car trouble. The very day I sent in the final payment on my 2007 Saturn Vue, I had to spend $783.57 to fix something that sounded vaguely pancreatic to me.

I understand as much about vehicular mechanics as I do human organs like the pancreas. I have no idea what my pancreas does, if I need it or how to fix it when it stops functioning.

So when the mechanic starts talking about degraded idler arms and mevotech drag links, I start nodding like a chicken in the rain and just get out the checkbook, once again wishing Dad had steered me into a garage instead of a golf course when I was growing up.

Then during the hottest week of the year our air conditioner broke. My HVAC guy said it would take $650 to fix it, but he had a better idea.

“You could get a new heat pump that’ll improve the efficiency of the whole system. I can get you a really nice one for $5,900.”

So now I have to hope for extreme winters and summers so we can realize rapid savings on our electric bills. A pleasant mild day when the furnace/AC unit idles will mean the expense is going to waste. I’ll only be happy when it’s Nome cold or Hell hot.

Then -- and this is the only misfortune that caused me to shed tears -- our 3-year-old 50-inch HDTV popped and went black while my wife was home alone watching. The repairman said it would cost $1,235 to repair the $1,500 behemoth, a foolish calculation when new ones could be had for less.

To me, it was like the day I heard John Lennon died.

I couldn’t believe it. I felt anger, denial, remorse. I wanted to lash out at the person I blamed.

That was my wife. She’s always hated the TV for the very reason I’ve always adored it. She thought it was too big.

Can you believe it? A TV that was too big? I try to avoid cliche profanity, but WTF?

Her hatred stems from my cunning subterfuge the day we bought it in 2007. We agreed on a nifty 42-inch set. Then the second she was out the door (conflicting schedules meant we’d taken two cars) I said to the salesman, “Okay, now I want you to give me eight more inches.”

It’s become impossible for a man to talk about TVs without it sounding sexual. That’s because televisions have usurped the penis as the way for men to prove their masculinity.

We boast about our inches. We talk about how it throbs with 2M 1080i pixel resolution and 100,000:1 lagoon contrast.

A big TV has become the true measure of a man.

It’s true. Right up until the moment he unveiled his breathtaking 56-inch HD monster, we all made fun of our one buddy behind his back for being such a nerdy poindexter (shout out to Ron Shannon, Latrobe, Pa.!)

So it’s not a metaphoric stretch to say the TV’s blindside destruction felt to me like a real kick in the nuts.

Call it Val’s revenge. When she insisted the new TV be no greater than 42-inches, my emasculation was complete.

I argued in vain that I was going to advance all the furniture three feet to compensate for the TV’s shortcomings.

So you see, it’s been a season of unrelenting dreariness for me.

Then on Thursday, finally, some really great news that makes up for all the despair.

My wife and kids left me.


Not for good, that would devastate me. I’m pretty sure.

I’m home alone while she’s taken the kids to spend four days with her sister and her five kids.

Talk about a two-fer for me!

I’m truly overjoyed by their absence and again left to wonder how the three people I love more than any others can make me so happy by leaving me all by myself.

So it’s beer for breakfast and donuts for dinner and I’m taking the new TV to Daddy Boot Camp.

I’m going to watch all the violent and profane things I can’t enjoy when the girls are around. That means “Hot Fuzz,” “Shaun of the Dead,” “Midnight Run,” “The Big Lebowski,” and the four-disc best of from the HBO classic, “The Larry Sanders Show.”

And I think I’ll give the nudist thing a try. Yeah, it’s a pleasant day. I’ll shuck the duds and watch TV in the buff.

Of course, I’m sure I’m in for some poignancy amidst my revelry.

I’ll be longing for those eight inches that aren’t ever coming back.

And, to be clear, I’m talking about the old TV, the only measure that matters.

x x x

Tweet of the Week @8days2amish: "There is no punishment too severe for the llama farmer who names any of his livestock Dolly."


Bob said...

Diane gave me a droid smart phone that one can watch TV on. I was all excited about this new TV until reading your post.

Chris Rodell said...

Thanks for confirming my theory, Bob!