Snap - Crackle - Flop

Snap - Crackle - Flop

What a perfect weekend for TV watching since the weather outside is frightful - ice and snow on the ground, 12 degrees below I've-never-been-this-cold-before with a wind chill that could make a big pair of Dumbo ears like mine freeze and break off. To add insult to injury, the miserably cold weather has been the same for 4 days in a row - unheard of in these parts.

I can't get used to it; my lips can't get used to it (chapping after just one outing); my postman can't get used to it ("Please clear your walkway and steps of ice and snow...."....uummmm....that's probably not going to happen) and my waistline can't get used to it either because snow days are permission to forget the diet (that was just started). Inside, the fire is so delightful, and on the TV there are hundreds of stations to watch, although only a handful worth watching .

But there's this one problem. I'm embarrassed about it. Humiliated. Bumfuzzled. Friends tell me in private that they have the same issue which gives me courage to come right out and say it out loud, just like they do in AA: "Hey. I'm Tom and I can't turn on my TV." There - I said it in public - so why don't I feel better? Because the boob-tube is making a boob out of me.

There are 3 different types of TVs and remotes in the house and I can't work a single one. Is it old age? Perhaps. Ignorance? Maybe. Lack of techno-apptitude? Yep. But does such a simple task have to be so damn hard? Admit it - If you're over a certain age and have one of those new-fangled TVs - as thin as an over-used credit card and as wide as a billboard - you might have the same problem. And if you're close to my age (50-something-ish)and can turn it on every time without issue, you're either a genius or (more likely) an idiot savant. Something has to be wrong with you.

When I was a kid, TVs were as deep as they were wide and were so heavy that two adult men had to move them. But they were very easy to turn on. A quick pull of the on/off switch and in a few seconds the screen came to life and your TV show was on. There were 4 stations to watch, assuming reception was strong on the 3 good channels, and who cared about the 4th one - WUNC? With no cartoons, no Beverly Hillbillies and no I Dream of Jeanie, it was the channel least watched, unless a dreaded grown-up came in the room and commandeered it.

On any given Saturday in the 1960s, while everyone else was sleeping, I'd wake up, head to the kitchen, pour myself a bowl of Rice Krispies, add a few tablespoons of sugar, pour whole milk over it and then walk to the den to pop on the only TV in the house. I'd flop onto my mother's favorite orange, mid-century modern couch to watch Sun Rise Theater. I'd start eating the rice cereal in sugary whole milk as the show came on. The volume was up so I didn't miss a word being said from Frankenstien, Mothra, or the Swamp Thing over the loud snap-crackle-and popping coming from my breakfast bowl.

I'm still the first one up and today I wanted to enjoy my breakfast while watching the author of "Fire and Fury" being interviewed on CNN. Some may think the news is fake, but my cereal is real with a combo of goodies and the hope of restarting yet another failed diet - Kashi Warm Cinnamon (because it tastes good + low in carbs), a dab of 100% Bran (not because it tastes good - ahem), a sprinkle of cinnamon (keeps blood sugar low), some almonds (eating "closer to the ground"), some crushed flax seeds (I've seen skinny folks do it so I do it too), a little dried fruit and a splash of skim milk. It's more bird food floating in milky-white water than a delicious breakfast, but it's healthy.

I'm feeling smug as I grab the remote and push the Spectrum power button so I don't miss my program which airs any minute now. But nothing happens. Next I press the system on/off button. Nothing - again. I try pressing them in different order and the entire remote lights up like a red-light Christmas tree - which looks interesting - but no TV. Nada.

I dash downstairs to another "smart" TV (says who?) that connects "wirelessly". Susan has printed instructions on how to turn it on....74 words long....TO TURN ON THE TV....which should be a clue I'm not going to be able to do it but I push forward. My healthy breakfast is getting soggy but there's not time to eat as I slowly and very deliberately go through each step of the instructions. I finish reading the 74th word, look up to see if the TV is on, but I'm rewarded these words on the screen: No Signal. Damn-nation. I try one more time but go even more slowly and deliberately through the sequence with positive thoughts: saying "I can do this!" over and over to myself.

"No Signal." Again. The uneaten cereal now resembles mush.

It's time to ditch the soggy cereal and go to the 3rd TV which is connected to the cable by Roku. Ro-WHO? Roku is a smart TV too and has a 3 step turn-on process (how smart is that, really? All goes according to plan and within a jiffy (about 2 minutes - forever in the old days but damn good for today) the TV screen comes alive. Incredible!!! There's a picture.

...but.... But......BUT....this remote control is tiny and spare - modern - and it doesn't have s simple up or down channel button. Favorites are programmed into the system but we (meaning Susan) only programmed in 6 "favorites" and CNN isn't one of them. AARRGGGGHHH. I try pushing the few buttons there are and for the life of me I can't figure out how to change the channel to CNN.

Damnit! Skunked again.

I head back to the den where this turn-the-TV-on-cluster-firetruck started, and slowly hit all the buttons on the Spectrum remote - but this time - remarkably - in exactly the right sequence (which I couldn't repeat again if I had to) - the TV comes on. I switch to CNN just as the segment finishes and goes to a commercial break - and the commercial is for the best new diet program ever. As I turn off the TV, a bagel calls my name from the kitchen. With Havarti. And bacon. Lots of bacon.

I'm not going to get mad that I missed the interview. Nor am I going to look it up on my computer - technology be damned. I'm going to read about it tomorrow in the newspaper - and not the digital version - but the old-fashioned print version. $1.00 and well worth it. I can't wait!!! Then I'm going to a 2nd hand store to see if I can find a TV that's as deep as it is wide, with an antennae and no remote control. One that only picks up 3 channels (perhaps 4 since now I love UNC-TV) . One that I can easily turn on.

Or maybe it will be warm enough to go for a walk and the TVs will be left off for the entire day. Yeah - that's what I want. HealthQuest 2018 - here I come.....unless the author of "Fire and Fury" is on another channel. Then I'll plop back down on the couch, with an earlier start, and try turning on the TV again. Wish me luck - I'm going to need it.


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