The TV from the old “dude pad” my son and I had shared was way too small to see such things from all the way back at the couch. So there I stood, 3 feet from the screen, sipping coffee, my knees locked, head craned forward and eyes darting from headline to headline looking for something consequential, when my wife, Ravin’, walked in. I call her that because she has black hair and a temper shorter than a politician’s promise.
Having been married only days, she still felt compelled to sugar-coat her observations. “You’re blind and you have poor posture,” she said as she passed. My inborn sensitivity to such female indirectness instantly told me what she was having trouble saying. I gently offered her a more astute conclusion, “I’m not blind,” I said (it did turn out I needed glasses but that’s another column,) “we just need a bigger TV.” Ravin looked at the little TV, (which had seemed huge when I bought it 5 years ago), and narrowed her eyes in thought . . .
We may have been newlyweds, but I knew her better than the skin on the back of my hand. She was going to remind me that we had just bought a house, and paid for moving two households, etc… and we just couldn’t be buying a new television right now. No way. She turned to me and said instead, “Where would we put it?” Okay, I hadn’t expected that. I later realized that with those few words I had been utterly rolled.
I looked at the old entertainment center. It was small, barely big enough for the current TV, made of veneered pressboard that didn’t match any of the other furniture. It hadn’t cost much and I was pretty sure a slightly bigger one would only cost slightly more. “We can get a new TV stand, too,” I said in a deep, “daddy has plenty of money” voice. “Okay,” she said with a sigh, “you can get a new TV as long as we also get something nice to put it on.” I raised my arms like Rocky Balboa at the top of the steps as waves of triumph washed over me. Things went pretty much down hill from there.
The TV wasn’t plasma, (An appliance full of blood seems pretty weird anyway) or DLP or even ADD. It was just a really big TV. Even so, the price made my knees weak. Not a peep from Ravin, though, and that got me worrying.
We strolled down a nearby aisle and started looking at TV stands. Let’s be clear about what I had meant by “TV stand.” I visualized a short cabinet with three shelves and just wide enough for the BATV. (Short for Big &%# TV). I saw several that fit my ideal and pointed them out to Ravin. Yet as I indicated each one, she would cite its shortcomings; wrong color, wrong style, mismatched wood grain for the coffee tables, just plain ugly, etc… So it appeared we weren’t going to find an acceptable TV stand at the Electronics Megastore when Ravin said, “I know! Let’s go to Snooty-Pricey Furniture Store and see what they have!” There was a pre-planned air to the statement. “Aha!” I thought. The scheme is revealed!
All along, I had unknowingly been mired in full-fledged DFP (Diabolical Feminine Plot) to use the purchase of vital tornado-safety technology to spend an obscene amount of money on new furniture. She had taken my innate need as a husband and father to protect my family from a natural disaster and cravenly used it to slake her thirst for luxury accoutrements. She should have been ashamed of herself!
Through the magic of the plot, the “TV stand” was somehow transmogrified into a “Solid Oak Wall Unit” costing more than twice the price of the TV. It was 7 feet tall, 9 feet wide, had built in spotlights, 3 glass doors, 17 shelves and a sliding TV pedestal (uh, the actual TV stand part.) One of the neighborhood kids helped me wrestle the BATV. onto the pedestal. After calling my surgeon to schedule my second hernia repair, I plopped down onto the couch and turned on the set. I have to admit, it was worth it. The images were huge. I could see the drops of sweat on the football players’ faces, and the cracks in Katie Couric’s make-up. But I had to crank the sound all the way up on the built-in speakers to hear the game clearly.
I daydreamed a moment about surround-sound speakers. But then I thought of all the different pieces of new furniture needed to support seven speakers. Quietly, I tiptoed into the bathroom for a q-tip instead.
Louis Feraca is a local businessman, a devoted husband and father, and a writer whose wry observations on modern-day life make the editor laugh, even when his submission is tardy.