So, The Wife comes to me and she says, “We need a new TV in the basement.”
“You mean the RRoyCave?”
“*sigh* Yes. the RRoyCave.”
“What’s wrong with the one there now?”
“It’s old. It hums. The sound is crap. The screen is small.”
“But we bought that TV in 1989 at Montgomery Ward. It’s the first appliance we bought as a married couple. And you want to just throw it out?”
“Why must you be so sentimental about inanimate objects?”
“Are you going to throw me out when I start to hum?”
“Too late for that. Look, we’re the only people we know that don’t have a flat-screen TV. Your father has two.”
“Fine. I’ll see what Best Buy has.”
“Don’t bother. Costco has them on sale this week.”
“But if we get it at Costco we’ll have to install it ourselves.”
“So? How hard is it to plug in a television?”
“In 1989? Not hard at all. Today — with the U-Verse and the DVD player and whatnot, it will be a disaster if you leave it to me. We still can’t watch movies in the living room unless I reach behind the TV to unplug the U-Verse cable and plug in the DVD player. Wouldn’t you like a professional to come in and take care of all that?”
“It’ll be cheaper. You can do it. I have faith in you.”
“I don’t. I know me.”
And so it was that Saturday afternoon The Wife, The Son and I braved the hectic, pre-Christmas mania of Costco. We decided the 32-inch Vizio would be good enough for downstairs, but there were two models.
“This one’s a blah-blah-blah while this one has blah-blah-blah. Do you have a blu-ray player? Do you want internet connectivity?”
“We just want something for the basement. No frills.”
“The cheap one will do.”
I grab the box by the handles and load it into the cart. Wow, that was light. The Sony in the living room weighs 500 pounds, and it’s a smaller, square screen. The Wife goes to get milk and The Son and I get in line. The line wasn’t bad but it took The Wife forever to get to the milk and back. We leave vowing not to do anymore shopping until January.
Got home, slid the TV from the box, screwed in the base, set the TV on the stand. OK so far. Plug U-Verse box into TV. Turn on TV. Wait for TV to program itself. Wait.
“Does it usually take this long?”
“Not usually. But then I’m not familiar with these new TVs.”
TV finishes programming. Turn on TV. TV works. Turn on U-Verse. U-Verse works. OK so far. Plug yellow, white and red wires into TV and plug corresponding yellow, white and red wires into DVD player.
“Go upstairs and get a DVD.”
She comes back with “Funny Face.” I’m too nervous to complain. Page 18 of instruction manual: Press the COMP button on the remote control to access DVD player. I press COMP button. Image appears on screen. SUCCESS!
“Why is it in black and white?”
“I dunno. It’s an old movie, isn’t it?”
“It’s not that old. It should be in color.”
I press various buttons on the remote. Nothing. I pull out wires and plug them in different holes. NO SIGNAL. I try different holes. Still black and white.
“@#$%^&*(&%$#$%^&*()( (&^% &**&^ ( ”
“I’m going upstairs.”
I turn to the troubleshooting guide. No section on “what if your DVDs only play in black and white.”
I send an email to my tech-head brothers in law, but get no reply. Just as well, I can imagine what the reply would be: “Did you blah-blah-blah? Try the blah-blah. You might need a blah-blah-blah-blah, you can get one at Radio Shack. What kind of blah-blah-blah does it blah-blah.”
I go to bed.
Sunday morning I get up and watch a highly entertaining Hawkeye-centric episode of “Avengers” and then decide to go downstairs and face my fate.
“Maybe that DVD player is no good. Maybe we should just go out and get another one.”
Before I follow this advice, I decide to unplug the DVD player upstairs and see if it will work downstairs. To do so means moving the massive entertainment center upstairs so we can get to the plug.
“Oh my god, look at all the dust. Hold on while I get the vacuum cleaner. My family will be here Friday!”
“Your family won’t know there’s dirt behind the entertainment center.”
“Yes, but I will.”
I crawl around and eventually unplug all the wires, haul the DVD player downstairs, plug it it, turn it on, everything’s black and white. It’s not the DVD player.
I find a different set of instructions (from the DVD player, not the TV) and plug things in differently per its orders. I turn it on. COLOR.
“Laura! Come downstairs!”
“You fixed it? Oh, I’m so proud of you.”
The show begins.
“Uh, where’s the sound?”
“I dunno, it’s an old movie, right?”
“It’s not a silent picture. It’s a musical!”
I press various buttons on the remote. Nothing. I pull out wires and plug them in different holes. NO SIGNAL. I try different holes. Still no sound.
“@#$%^&*(&%$#$%^&*()( (&^% &**&^ ( ”
“I’ll be upstairs.”
I turn to the troubleshooting guide.
PROBLEM: You can see a picture but you cannot hear sound.
1. Make sure that the volume is not turned down (OH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD).
2. Make sure that the sound is not muted (I’M NOT A COMPLETE *&$ING MORON).
3. Make sure the cables are connected securely and correctly. (Now, there are only so many combinations of 3-prong cables that you can try in 9 holes. Trust me. I’ve tried them all.)
I thumb through the manual some more. On page 23 I’m looking at something that looks familiar. It’s “composite” video instead if “component” video, which is what I’d read last night. “Select the AV button on your remote to access DVD player.” AV button? I thought I was supposed to press the COMP Button. it continues:
“Expect to see a black/white video in the Component input, if it is selected by accident.”
I plug everything in the way it was last night. I press the AV button. I turn on the DVD player.
I have PICTURE! I have SOUND! I have COLOR! Wait, everything’s pink. Wait! It’s “Funny Face” — it’s supposed to be pink!
and that is the story of Ronnie’s Christmas Miracle and how he was able to perform a minor technological task without the help of tech support.
I wonder if the Geek Squad is hiring…