September 17, 2013

September 17, 2013

In Memoriam (1981-2013)

For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.William Penn

In 1981, my Dad bought a Sony TV. I don’t know how much he paid, because I was -2 at the time. I don’t think my parents had even met. Twerking hadn’t been invented. It was an innocent time.

Here we both are, circa 1989:

Adorable. I’m referring, of course, to the TV.

It was an old-timey thing, with buttons for each channel and a slider control for the volume. It didn’t have a remote control, because what? I was the remote control, with the distinct disadvantage of not being able to reach the uppermost buttons during my youngest years. Speaking of controls, the panel next to the channel buttons was removable, with little plastic inserts you could swap in to match your local lineup. This discovery was my first exposure to the idea that not everyone watches ABC on channel 12, and some places have (shudder) a channel 2.

Because when you’re a kid in Wisconsin, you kinda think that your situation is everyone’s situation. Everyone has a basement. Everyone cheers for the Packers. Everyone has a winter coat. THAT’S THE WAY THINGS ARE, DUH-DOY. I suppose kids in more diverse areas and/or who moved a lot realized that this wasn’t the case, but it was Wisconsin in the 1980s. The most exotic people you’d meet were from Ohio.

So, all right, I’m tearing up a little (no kidding) because my Dad just told me that the TV died this past weekend. He mentioned last week that it was starting to go, but I was holding out hope. But on Sunday, he turned it on and got nothing but a white line in the center of the screen.

We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love.  –Madame de Stael

I imagine this is the way people feel when their dogs die. My dad and I debated whether we should bury the TV, and we were only partially kidding. It was a part of our family for so long, it has Giving Tree-like status. Was it our primary set? No. But it could always be relied upon to stand sentry in a spare bedroom or the basement rec area, ever-ready to be tuned to The Price Is Right.

We’re not going to throw it out just yet. We have room to let it hang around for a while. It’s the least we can do to respect a lifetime of service.

Goodbye, old friend.

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