The last technological breakthrough I was fully on top of was the videocassette recorder. And that was because I had a burning desire to master this alien technology. I loved movies and always dreamed of having my own film library. No more waiting for the art-house theater to bring back my favorites. Just being able to go to the video store and pay a couple of bucks to rent a cassette was magical. Next I bought a shoulder busting VCR camera to record the antics of our kids. By hooking the video camera to the VCR I was even able to edit my films. This was the height of my expertise.
But technology moved on as it always does and left me and my glory days behind. Video cameras got much smaller, but I already had enough videos of the kids. I never watched them so why make more? Then came DVDs. I felt no need to adopt this new way. The video store had a cassette for every disc they rented. But my friend Steve, pitying me, gave me a DVD player. But I was not messing with all those strange cables. A high school friend got it up and running. Now the problem was in coordinating three remotes to go from TV to DVD. It was not all that complicated, but movies by now had lost their allure and between screenings I would forget the remote drill and have to spend several minutes pushing buttons before I could get the bloody thing to work. And God help me getting back to TV mode after the film.
And then came Blu-Ray. I ask you, is Blu-Ray enough of an advance to justify getting a new machine? No I say . Blu-Ray is creepy looking. But Steve, God love him, gave me a Blu-Ray player. That was three years ago. I would need a thing called a HDMI cable to hook it up. The old DVD player was still working fine. Every Blu-Ray film is also available in the old format. I dragged my feet. Every so often Steve or more especially his movie-mad wife would ask if I had gotten that Blu-Ray player going yet. It was embarrassing, but I could take it.
It took Bill Bryson to get me off my butt. He wrote a book called "A Walk in the Woods" which we loved. Last year Robert Redford turned the book into a movie. Jackie bought a used copy of the film and offered it to us. "But it's Blu-Ray," she taunted. Teresa said, "Either hook that thing up, or give them back the player." "OK, OK, give me a break." I dug the player and remote out of its box. It was tiny compared to my other gear. "I'll have to order a HDMI cable," I thought. I pulled out my TV to make sure there was a place to plug in the cable and son of a biscuit if there wasn't a cable already plugged into the TV. "Hmmm. Where did that come from?" All sorts of sorcery can happen in three years. I plugged in the unit and turned on the TV. It started searching for Wi-Fi. It found Wi-Fi. Teresa was watching now. The screen said we were ready to watch movies or Netflix. "Netflix!" Teresa said. "You mean I could have been watching Netflix on the TV all these years instead of on my laptop!"
"Let's be positive here," I said.
I felt pretty darn proud of myself until later that evening when trouble arose. I had just constructed a beautiful strawberry shortcake and was about to chow down when Teresa called, "The TV's not working here." She was right. There was no signal from the Dish Network. I have called the Dish Network for help in the past. You don't want to do that. It's a killer. There was a black cloud over my shortcake, but it helped me think as I spooned it down. "Eureka!" I may have shouted. I surmised that when I pulled the TV out that morning, I may have dislodged something in the rat's nest behind the entertainment shrine. Everything that's plugged into the TV looked fine. I began tracing down all the lines. Aha, the connector to the Dish receiver had come out. We were soon enjoying our nightly ration of TV drivel. And the next night we watched "A Walk in the Woods." The book was way better.