The Rant 

Tim gets a flat-screen television and hilarity ensues.

So I just took a long, deep breath and held it for a second and then exhaled a long, deep, pensive sigh with a little "hmmm" gurgle in it. I do that all the time. I don't know what's wrong with me and neither does the psychological medical profession. And no, this is not about smoking cessation, the topic of my last column. But thanks to all who went to memphisflyer.com and offered helpful comments on quitting. Well, except for the person who accused me of being a member of the Tea Party, but I feel fairly certain that was a joke. I hope it was a joke. But this is not about Tea Baggers or politics at all because I have been taking a break from all that. Too much tweeting going on for me.

I just took a long, deep breath and held it for a second and then exhaled a long, deep, pensive sigh with a little "hmmm" gurgle in it because I seem to be reaching a point where I am either going to live in the 21st century or I am going to find a spot so remote that I'll never see anyone again and will live out the rest of my days there in a yurt.

This is all because I finally, finally broke down and bought a flat screen television last week. Yes, I guess I'm the last holdout wanting to keep my treasured, 200-pound 1994 Magnavox, which, until last week, still worked just fine and had a great picture (is that still correct? Does a television have a "picture?" Hell if I know). It's not that there's anything earth-shattering about buying a flat screen television, unless, of course, you do that on the night of or morning after Thanksgiving and you get killed by a big-box mob before you get home with it. No, this was just a typical, hey, the old television finally bit the dust so gotta buy a new one, and all they sell now are flat screens with high-definition.

The problem is, I can't watch it. It makes me motion sick. It does make everyone look a little darker and swarthier and slightly Romanian, and I like that, but it makes me feel like I'm going to throw up.

See, this is not so much about the television as it is about life. And growing older. And watching the world change so rapidly. I hate to sound like such a geezer, and I am very young at heart about most things, but the flat screen television just flat out makes me nauseated. Yes, nauseated. Not nauseous. Please, please don't ever say that you are nauseous, which 99 percent of the people in the world do, because that means you are sickening. Now, if indeed you are sickening, then go ahead and say you are nauseous.

So, I am told that the cause of this nausea could be because I still have the old, digital satellite dish receiver and it needs to be upgraded to a high-definition receiver and if I do that it won't look so much like people are floating around in circles on "the picture." So, with much trepidation, I called my satellite television provider and asked how to go about this very simple upgrade. After speaking to a robot voice for a while I finally got a young man on the line, and I could just see him salivating, knowing I was a rube who would probably buy anything. But that was not going to happen.

click to enlarge SVU’s Detective Elliot Stabler - FEATUREFLASH | DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Featureflash | Dreamstime.com
  • SVU’s Detective Elliot Stabler

By the way, I had this conversation while standing in the middle of McLemore Avenue, rubbing the ankle on which I dropped the treasured, 200-pound 1994 Magnavox while trying to remove it from all the wires and replace it with my new, flat screen television that makes me sick to watch.

The first thing out of the young man's mouth was something about how he couldn't live without his DVR. Hmm. To which I replied, "Oh, is that so? Well, you probably watch a lot more than Law & Order reruns and you probably need DVR in your life. By the way, what is DVR?" He actually LAUGHED AT ME. He went on to explain that with his DVR he could skip through commercials and record many shows at once to watch later. To which I replied, "Well! That is just awesome for you! I have about eight jobs so I really don't need that, and I can just do the simple upgrade from the digital receiver to the high-definition receiver, having no clue in hell as to what that actually means.

He went on to ask me if I was a sports fan. "No," I replied, "I don't watch sports on television unless Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson happened to be trying to solve a crime at a sporting event." Dead silence on the other end of the line. This all went on for eons until I finally got my way and then was transferred to a non-English-speaking person to verify everything. There's no telling what I actually ended up with. I just know that now I've read the directions and they indicate not to place the television near any dust. Sure.

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