Sunday, January 6, 2013

RIP, 60-Inch Rear-Projection TV

When I was twenty I bought myself a Hitachi 60-inch rear-projection TV for two thousand dollars. It was the biggest purchase I'd ever made, and I remember the first night we watched the TV in the dark, and the picture looked bigger than the Atlantic Ocean. It was an amazing TV. The plan was to pay $400 a month for five months (Interest free) and then this gigantic TV would be mine. I was living in the in-law apartment at home, I had a good job, building credit. I was ahead of the game.

Two weeks later I lost that job, and suddenly the world was a dark place, with a big TV in the middle of it. That TV got me through some hard weeks after that firing. With no job $400 a month became $100 a month with 22.99 percent interest tacked on top (thirty-seven hundred when it was paid off). I did not work full time again for years, and my mother carried me through some of the payments as scraping together more than a few dollars a month was impossible with lacking income. Without my mom I would’ve lost that TV and been ruined credit wise. It took four years to pay it off, and two guys to move it out of my parents' apartment when I left.

Moving out with the TV was hard. While it lived home my whole family gathered around it for three straight days watching 9/11. It was the TV we watched Thursday Night FRIENDS and Sunday Night SOPRANOS on. When my guys came home for the weekend from college, we’d pregame with the TV going. I watched Shaq & Kobe win three straight NBA rings on that TV. It was a permanent fixture in my otherwise turbulent twenties. It was my best friend, and it was there as I finished graduate school and began my career. Of course it came with me when I moved out, into an apartment with a woman.

I lived a few months with that woman in that apartment then me and my TV moved out, got our own place in Troy. But soon we got lonely, we loved that woman, so we moved back. This woman thought it was time for me to leave the TV behind, but I said no way. So I rented an extra moving van, got my guys, and moved that big TV again. When I went to turn it on: Nothing. The TV was dead. I had bumped it on the move, and I had two choices: Let it die or bring it back. Six hundred bucks later, the TV was good as new. Never leave a man behind.

A few years later I bought a house with that woman, and the big TV was done living the apartment life. We had a house in the Suburbs. Wow! How far we had come since those dark days of my early twenties. We celebrated by paying another repairman to get it going again. The woman I lived with quietly prayed for its death but never protested. She knew what the TV meant to me. I proposed a few months later. My TV was so happy for me, for us.

By the time I married that woman and started talking kids, the big TV was really showing its age, a grainy old boy in an HD, flat-screen world. Again talk of putting the TV out to pasture swelled. Again I refused all such talk. This is the TV I watched Eli & Coughlin win two Super Bowls on. This TV had been with me through thick and thin. It wasn’t going anywhere.

Then Thanksgiving came this year and the whole family began to complain about the graininess, all choosing to go downstairs and watch sports on the flat screen HD. I stayed up with my big TV and watched alone, knowing the end was near for us, no more denying it. After everyone left, me and my wife had "the talk." Yes, I agreed, it was time to put the TV to rest. My best friend was dying. The next day we bought another flat screen, and the green blanket was thrown over the old rear projection. I wheeled it from the living room with the blanket over the screen humming Amazing Grace, into the Electronics After Life. Now the living room looks modern, with a sleek, flat-screen HD TV where a 60-inch rear projection once sat.

With that TV gone--after thirteen up-and-down years--a small part of me went away too. I lost a best friend when I wheeled that big screen away. But sometimes in life you have to let go of the past to welcome the future. Now the family comes and watches and comments on the clarity of the new TV. And that's what matters, I suppose. As for me, no TV will ever be better than that 60-inch the first night in the dark when I was twenty, the picture bigger than the Atlantic Ocean.

RIP, 60-Inch Rear-Projection TV.

Brian Huba
1.6.13

No comments:

Post a Comment