The Old Coot can’t wait

I bought an RCA “color” TV in 1968 at “Little Joe’s” in Elmira, N.Y. It cost $300, a virtual fortune at the time. Mad-Man-Dewey had the same set for ten dollars less, but I picked Little Joe because he specialized in electronics and was more than capable of making any repairs or adjustments it might need. 

This was the “good old days” before we turned into a throwaway society. Things broke; we fixed them or got them fixed. I was a high roller (Ha Ha), earning $128 a week, so I opted for the easy payment plan: $25 down and $5 a week. I plugged it in, connected it to our antenna, turned the combination On-Off-Volume switch to on and Presto! A color picture appeared, INSTANTLY! The TV had the highly desirable, “Instant On” feature. Little Joe told me that a small amount of electricity tricked into the picture tube and the circuit tubes, keeping them in a warmed-up state, even when the TV was turned off. You had to unplug it, if you wanted to stop the trickle. 

A lot of things needed warming up in those days: radios, cars, stereo sets and old men. Not any longer. (Except for the old men.) Today’s electronic devices don’t have tubes that need to heat up before the sound or picture comes on, everything is solid state and snaps to attention the instant you turn them on. BUT here I am, 50 years later, with a TV, twice the size of that old RCA, yet I’m sitting in front of it at the moment and I have nothing to look at, except a notice that says, “Please wait!”

Wait for what? The cable is hooked up; the cable box is turned on; the TV is on and has a picture, otherwise, I wouldn’t see the “Please wait’” notice. Eventually, the waiting will be over, but it could take several minutes, unless I messed up, (or the system did; I’m never sure why this happens) and get the dreaded “Initializing the host platform” message. This usually stays on for a minute or two and then comes the “Acquiring initial application” notice. Several more minutes go by and finally comes “Downloading initial application,” followed by the lie of the century, “Your TV will be right with you!” A circle appears with an 8 in the center. Then a 7, 6, 5,4, 3. You get excited. The end is near. But, it’s not! The “3” stays there for another five or ten minutes before a TV show finally materializes.

I should be used to this stuff by now. It’s that same “few minutes” that the airline pilot says you’ll have to wait before he can pull up to the gate and let you get off. Sometimes a pilot will say the wait will take 10 minutes, OR SO. It’s that “OR SO” that always gets you. Ten minutes, OR SO, is never less than 20 minutes and can stretch to an hour or more. 

There are plenty of cases when passengers were held captive on a runway for several hours. Why they don’t revolt, take over the plane and deploy the emergency chutes proves how much we have been bullied by the TSA and the entire airline industry! They’ve turned us into sheep. If we insisted on humane treatment, we’d be arrested and put on the No-Fly list. I’m off the subject, as usual. I’ll get back to it, “In ten minutes, OR SO.” 

Comments? Complaints? Send to mlessler7@gmail, or text to (607) 972-6102.

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