The Goddess Speaks
It's hard to be entertained
NOT LONG AGO, when I wanted to watch television, I would press the red button on the remote control. To change channels or the volume, I would press the up or down arrows.
Life was simple.
Life was good.
Today, to turn on the TV also requires turning on a cable box and something called a receiver. This involves two of our four new remotes that are now available for losing.
So today, when I wish to watch "All My Children," I walk over and press the power buttons on the gray box, the black box and the new silver TV. I try to keep the remotes out of it.
Life got complicated when our family decided to forgo major Christmas gifts in favor of buying a new entertainment system. I was OK with this, especially with getting a new TV to replace the bulky old one and upgrading to digital cable (to be able to rewind live TV -- makes life complete, doesn't it?).
So we educated ourselves in the language of LCD, plasma and rear-projection and headed for the big-box electronics stores. And in the spirit of marital compromise, we agreed on the TV I wanted.
WELL, it was $500 cheaper than the one my husband wanted, and he got to spend the difference on a sound system.
I was OK with that, too, especially since our old system -- called a stereo -- took up a lot of space and consisted of several nonworking components.
So back he went to the big-box store -- alone this time -- returning with six speakers, the aforementioned receiver and something called a subwoofer that is the size of a small refrigerator. I am not kidding, this thing could be a pedestal for statuary. But he was within budget.
He also had enough speaker cable to choke a giraffe. Despite that, he was unable to get sound from the new TV to come out of the six new speakers (you would think they'd send you home with the right cables to connect your new equipment, but you would be wrong). So it was back to the big-box store, where a nice man drew him a map showing where to plug in what.
"Did you have to buy more cables?" I asked.
"Yes," he said.
"TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS?"
At this point, I washed my hands of the entire thing.
OK, SO despite the map, the $200 in cables, the help of my son the computer-science major (who thinks he is smarter than everyone in the house put together) and my brother with the Ph.D. in physics, still the system didn't work right.
It was time for the hired gun, another nice man from the big-box store who, for a mere $100, made a house call and brought sound to every component. (Except, for a brief, time, the PlayStation 2. That was fixed by my daughter's friend, through what seemed lucky guesswork but probably is due to him being smarter than everyone in our house put together.)
Someday I will watch the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy in my own living room, with high-definition picture and surround sound. The value of all of this will become clear.
Right now, though, I would like to watch today's episode of "All My Children."
If only I could figure out which button to press.
Betty Shimabukuro is Star-Bulletin features editor.
The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and about women. If you have something to say, write "The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210,
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