Funeral for a television
I recently had to take a television to the television graveyard.
A few years ago, our town stopped picking up electronic items curbside, so now it requires us taking them to a central collection location.
Now this is kind of a first-world problem, and I am really not complaining, because our sanitation people do an excellent job. However, I was really surprised with what I saw when I got to the collection center.
There, in front of me, was the past. I saw every technological dinosaur from Betamax and CD players, to rear-projection behemoths and tiny black-and-whites that surely sat on someone’s kitchen counter or came out of a dorm room in 1982.
However, my particular TV was definitely in the brontosaurus category. It weighed in well over 300 lbs., and had a screen size and depth of about 36 inches. The fine folks at Sony back in the early 1990s gave it a sleek and futuristic look by eliminating those unsightly handles or any other spot to grab on to, which basically meant after one bought the TV, you then built your house around it.
This was the last of the real Sony Trinitrons; it was the Spruce Goose, the temple of Athena and the Grand Canyon all rolled into one extremely heavy box of state-of-the-art Japanese solid-state technology.
With the exception of the early rear-projection TVs, it was bigger than any I had ever seen, and heavier than our refrigerator. When it was time to get rid of it, I had to wait and plan three years in advance until I knew my sons would be older and strong enough to help move it.
One Sunday, I woke up and said, “Today is the day. Today is the day we take on the TV.” We had several planning sessions, and no one could agree exactly what the plan should be. My oldest son wanted to disassemble it, which might have made sense, except I didn’t have another three years, and I can still go to my garage and pick up the pieces of the two cars he had previously “disassembled.”
My other son just said, “Smash it. The pieces will all stay inside it.” So I reminded him that 300 lbs. of broken glass weighs the same as 300 lbs. of non-broken glass — and then wondered, why, exactly, are we saving for college?
After much negotiation (which loosely translates into four people screaming at each other), we moved the lumbering giant down the hall and to the bottom of the basement stairs. Getting it up the stairs was a problem, but we determined the front door had to come off as well. And, then things got a little dicey, since that required specific tools and a skill set that that none of us owned (a hammer, screwdriver and common sense).
However, once we got it out, and into the back of the truck, I started the funeral procession. The man at the HazMat center seemed nice, but said he needed a forklift to get it off the truck. Once it was on the pallet, old and broken, it reminded me of what Dom Deluise’s corpse must have looked like when they hauled it away.
Then, I got a little sad (not about Dom Deluise, but I did love him on Match Game).
The truth is, it was a tremendous television. It was on the edge of high definition long before any such critter ever existed.
I thought about how we probably watched Toy Story and A Bug’s Life about 1,000 times. I thought about the Blue’s Clues chair that sat in front of it. I also watched the Columbine massacre, the Red Sox celebrate a World Series victory, the late-night election results change in 2000, the second shuttle crash, and holding my son’s hand on the morning of Sept. 11, a few moments after dropping my daughter off at day care — all broadcast on that TV.
They used to call TV the idiot box, and maybe I was an idiot for buying something that big and heavy. But then again, wouldn’t you expect “the window to the world” to have a little substance to it?
Todd writes local sports for a living, but would rather be collecting and playing vintage guitars. Follow him on Twitter at @blasterdog.