Stay Tuned!

Ed’s mad.

I’m old enough to remember what the first TVs were like. Actually, I’m old enough to remember what life was like without them. Because we were financially challenged, we didn’t own a TV for a long time. When we finally got one, it was awe inspiring. It even came with a remote control. The remote wasn’t like the ones we have today. It consisted of my dad yelling for me to change the channel, and me doing it. I didn’t have a remote. If I called, he laughed.

The first time I owned a color TV, I really thought I’d hit the big time. Then, when I got a TV I could control from the bed, I thought it couldn’t get any better. I’d watch my thirteen channels and be perfectly happy. Nowadays, we have about a thousand channels, and we’re usually complaining nothing’s on. We’re never satisfied, are we?

TVs have evolved so much over the years, it’s amazing. Black and white, to color, to cable, to HD, to 3D, to making dinner while you doze in the recliner. Well, that last one is just part of my life’s wish list, but we might get there some day, since they seem to do just about everything else.

It’s all part of a trap designed to lure us into their sordid world, so we’ll spend more money. Why? Because we can’t live without premium channels. $$ The bigger the screen, the better. $$ Resolution absolutely must allow us to see beads of sweat on Aldridge’s forehead when we watch the Spurs. $$ The smarter our TV, the happier we are. $$ You get the point. Not much in life is free, unless you count happiness and stray cats, so all the latest innovations are designed to clean out your wallet.

If the guide lists a sci-fi movie or TV show, rest assured Ed’s watching it. I’ve tried to convince him Muppets From Space qualifies, but he’s not buying it. He did watch Wall-E the other day, so I’m making progress. Baby steps. If a Star Trek rerun is on, I don’t even have to ask what he’s watching. That falls squarely into the “Duh” category. If you ever need to know a line from some Star Trek movie, e-mail him. I guarantee he’ll know.

He got super excited when CBS started running commercials for Star Trek Discovery. Finally! A new series to watch instead of a Tribbles rerun. But! They spent quite some time peaking everyone’s interest and then dropped the bomb. It would only be available on CBS All Access. I told him to go ahead and subscribe but he’s cheap. I didn’t push the subject because they don’t have any kid shows I can’t live without. I did buy him season one when it came out, but he hasn’t watched it. Pretty sure he’s still pouting.

Which brings us to Ed’s latest major disappointment. It’s my fault he’s moping around. I really should learn to keep my mouth shut. He got hooked on the first two seasons of The Orville, which aired on Fox. Recently came the big announcement. It was moving to Hulu. Subscription required. And, yes, I told him about the change. Stupid! Why are they doing that? What’s wrong with “free” TV? What else will they move over? Are you sure? Where did you hear that? Just some of the many questions I had to answer/listen to during his tirade.

I left him to sulk in private and started cooking dinner. I wasn’t halfway through the process when he came into the kitchen. Evidently, he’s not the only upset person. Yep. He’d researched it online, and said it was running three negatives for every positive comment. I don’t know if he actually counted them, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I shooed him out of the kitchen before I got another thirty-minute dissertation on how “they” were ruining his life.

As an aside, if you think that was the end of the discussion, you’re wrong. Seriously wrong. A week later, while cooking dinner, I got another dissertation on the evils of subscription TV. I have a solution. I’m going to buy one of those electronic doggy shock collars and make him wear it. I’ll only activate it when he steps into the kitchen while I’m trying to cook dinner. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Netflix, Hulu, All Access, etc. are concepts that escapes me. If I want to watch a show, best case scenario, I push a button and I’m there. Worst case means I look at the guide to see what’s on. Still…minimal buttons. Granted, going directly to the show isn’t as easy as yelling at someone to change the channel, but it’s simple. To watch one of the subscription channels, there are so many steps I’d lose interest before I ever got to the show. Plus, we all know I’m lazy.

Life used to be so much simpler. As were our expectations. We might have thought it would be nice to watch a TV show in color, but we didn’t believe it would ever happen, so B&W was fine. If we had five channels, that was four too many. As long as I could watch Lew King Rangers, I was happy. (Side note: Lew was introduced by nine-year old Wayne Newton. Amazing I still remember that, when remembering my name is sometimes challenging.)

Life gives us too many options, most of which put a huge dent in our pocketbooks. If we started numerous subscription services in addition to cable with premium channels, we’d have to go back to work. Nope. Sometimes I long for the “good old days” when life was so much simpler. Usually that thought ends with me realizing I’d have to give up my whirlpool bathtub, central air, and refrigerator with water/ice in the door, so I don’t really want to time warp. But I do wish “they” would stop coming up with new ways to make us spend our money. About the time we get used to a computer operating system, “they” stop supporting that version and we must upgrade. You fall in love with a refrigerator that makes ice, then junk it when they put an ice/water dispenser on the door. We fall in love with a show and “they” move it to some subscription platform.

I’m not a very materialistic person and am more than happy with my laminated counter tops, kitchen appliances in any color but stainless, and a cell phone that’s older than some of our cats. I don’t need the latest convenience to be happy, and I personally think that’s the best way to live. Even if Ed must wait for me to buy The Orville on DVD for him, that’s how God wants us to live, isn’t it? It’s cheaper and we spend more time being thankful for the things we do have, than bemoaning the things we don’t. Plus, you’ll get dinner much faster.

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