My mom came over recently to help me clean out some closets and organize a spare bedroom. She opened up a closet while I was in another room and discovered one of my ancient treasures.
“Hey, where’d this TV come from?” she asked me through a wall.
I went into the bedroom and looked at what she had found on a shelf.
“Oh, yeah. That. I won it in a drawing several years ago,” I said.
“I didn’t know you ever had anything like this,” she replied.
“I’ve had it for twelve years.”
(When I say something like that, it usually has the effect of ending a conversation, because I’m notorious for being able to tell someone the exact date they told me my earrings didn’t match my shirt, or something else equally insignificant.)
The television was a very small, portable, black-and-white battery (or adapter) operated gadget with one antenna and–but wait, there’s more–a radio receiver. I won it in a door prize drawing at a required, mandatory staff meeting at work and immediately made the joke that I’d use it the next time we had a tornado. Everyone laughed, because in Arkansas, that possibility is always just around the corner. The “big switch” to all-digital programming was still a few years away, so it was still operational.
“Have you ever used it?”
“Yeah, during the ice storm. Nothing else was working.”
See, based on past experiences, a tornado or a severe thunderstorm was the event most likely to knock out power in my little corner of the world. However, in 2009, just a few short months before all-digital programming would take over the airwaves, Arkansas was hit with a massive ice storm that knocked out power for weeks in some locations. I was lucky that mine came back on within twelve hours, but my new flat screen television didn’t have the capability to pick up a television signal over the air.
That was when I remembered the little portable television. I pulled it out of the closet, plugged it in, and became one of the few viewers of local television during the first week of the storm’s aftermath.
Nowadays, it’s a relic. I could use the radio if I wanted, but the television is useless unless I decide to buy a digital converter (I think), which isn’t exactly worth the trouble.
I guess I could just carry it around and pretend like it’s 1989 or something. Since we all carried portable televisions around like boom boxes back then…umm…yeah.