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Monday, July 26, 2004

Death of An Icon

"Do you know we are ruled by TV?"
-- from the poem An American Prayer by Jim Morrison

"By the start of the year 1993, 98% of U.S. households own at least one TV set, 64% have two or more sets."
-- Advertising Age

"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV."
-- The Kaiser Family Foundation
My large Magnavox has died.  I am not sure if it was a natural death or murder.  I think it was a little of both.  It was about 8 years old and I noticed about 4 months ago that its large hypnotic eye had developed a tic much like lazy eye and it's color was no longer clear.  It was a little swirly and whirly.  Still clear was the picture most of the time.  It's general health seemed to be deteriorating slowly.  I knew it would most likely be joining the other great, lost Magnavox's in the sky soon.
Last week we had a storm.  That was not the culprit that bought about Magnavox's death.  The home invasion of its' cording was.  About 20 minutes after the storm ended, all seemed  right with the world until I heard in the distance a low but loud BOOM! 

A transformer was blowing somewhere.  I waited.  Nothing.  A few more seconds passed and the home invasion began.  Another BOOM sounded and it was much closer.  All the lights went out and then came back on.  When the lights came back on a power surge invaded my home wiring.  I have everything on a surge protector except for 2 lamps and a ceiling fan, but I guess the condition of my Magnavox was just too weak to survive the assault.   It was much sicker than I realized. 

Magnavox was in a coma.  Whenever I tried to get it to open its eye, all I got was red swirls of disoriented color.  There is no recollection of favorite shows, movies or kids shoes that dirty Fila likes to watch.  Every now and then I get clear sound for a few minutes, then nothing but static.  When I try to turn Magavox off it tries to hang on and on and on and will not turn off until it is ready.  I know she wants to live.  The hanging on tells me that. 

Finally after trying to induce the paddles for one more time to bring her back to me, she never turned off.  After the off button was pushed, a cereal bowl sized, white ring remained on her eye like a milky, white cataract.   (I had a mental flash of the dead girl from the movie The Ring coming out of MY magnavox.) I knew it was time to pull the plug for the last time.  Just the thought of that movie was enough.  I decided to let her go and not have her suffer on life support any longer.  It was the only humane thing to do.

I waited 20 minutes, said my goodbye's and unplugged her.  She was gone, hanging on till the end.  She would not turn off until I unplugged her.  Her suffering was over and mine began.  Her death has been an eye opening experience.  With no tv downstairs, never have I gotten more done while downstairs.  Yes, I am having withdrawals.  There is no more hypnotic eye to keep the whole family sitting and sedentary for hours in the evenings.  We spend more time talking and doing other things like reading downstairs.  Never have I listened to more NPR, Vivaldi, Yo Yo Ma, EST, Sting, Regina Carter, Yanni and let's not forget the King of All Media-- Howard Stern in the last week than I have in the last 6 months.    Maybe this is a good thing.   The boob tube is gone and my family seems more productive in many ways.

I am debating on a replacement.  Should I even get one right away?  School is about to begin and this would be a benefit to learning--if we did not have a replacement right away.  We still have the upstairs televisions but they are much smaller.  We seldom spend time in our rooms.  Most of our time is downstairs in the common areas.  No television downstairs may work for awhile.  I think I will wait till September before thinking about a replacement.  I do have to mourn.  The family needs to mourn.   Maybe the T.V. is something I really do not need.  I might just be better off without it.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

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