My wife, Carla, and I took a journey to Georgia to see our oldest daughter, Allison, during the first week of April. She works for Coca-Cola and is based in Atlanta. It was the week of the NCAA Final Four, but I figured we could watch the Saturday evening semi-finals on her TV.
Then we got to her apartment and I looked at her TV, or tried to look at it. Left from her days as a college student, the screen was 20 inches, being generous. Twenty years ago I could have sat in the comfortable recliner across the room and seen the action. Now, even with glasses, I couldn't make out the score.
"Allison, you've got to get a new TV, and before Saturday night," I told her.
"Well, it's just one of those things I've put off," she says. "At least you don't have to watch the 12-inch screen in my bedroom. Plus its remote doesn't work and I have to get out of bed to change channels or turn it on or off."
Now that's tragic indeed. Truth is I remember as a kid watching the old black-and-white Crosby and Philco TVs. It was a big deal when the TV repairman came. My brother and I would bet on whether he would take it to his shop, fix it there or tell mom and dad to junk it. Those were lean times on the farm in those days, so they usually fixed it. One time he gave me a cardboard TV repair truck before he left – you would have thought he had given me $100!
My grandfather bought us our first color TV in the early 1960s. He wanted to watch the Rose Parade in color. I don't remember the size of the screen, but it was bulky and certainly still had tubes that the repairman could switch when one went bad. Grandpa paid $700 for it. We watched the Rose Parade that year, and I don't think I've sat through the whole parade since!
Back to Georgia. We took a two-day venture to Savannah. On the way back, traffic was heavy. The first game was over, but I really wanted to see the second game. Allison and I rushed to a local big-box store. If you want help with a TV, don't go there at 9 p.m. on Saturday night. Allison was ready to leave when I spotted a 39-inch model in a box for $300. It weighed less than our first color TV, cost half as much, and the screen was at least a third bigger.
At her apartment I tore into the box. I went to put the stand on and couldn't find the screws. The second half was almost ready to start. Allison finally found them in a bag tucked in another bag. I put them on, she plugged it into her cable, and we had big-screen TV!
Our Big 10 team, Wisconsin, still lost, but at least I could see the final shot that beat them, and the one they took that almost stole the game back.
"It's a matter of an inch or he would have made that shot," the announcer said.
It was a matter of 19 inches on a TV screen as to whether I could even see the shot! I wonder what size TVs will be in another 40 years.