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When is an improvement not an improvement?Posted Monday, January 14, 2008, at 7:12 PM
Back in 2005, I was shocked to read an article in the Southeast Missourian about some cockamamy scheme called "The Digital Switch," whereby the entire nation is going to be switched from analog to digital television. According to the article, some 70 million analog TVs are still in use in the U.S., and their owners will have to either 1) go buy a new television, or 2) buy a digital converter -- or they will be SHUT DOWN when the switch-over happens in 2009.
I'm trying to remember if I read the REASON for this catastrophic event, but - try as I might (maybe my brain rebels against this knowledge) - I cannot find a good, logical reason for this assault against the institution of AGING TELEVISIONS!
The only reason I hear for the switchover is "Wow, we'll get a much better reception!"
Surely, that can't be the REAL reason! You can't tell me that the United States Congress is THAT concerned about whether the U.S. population is able to watch its reality shows in crystal clarity.
This has to be some sort of sinister plot by hidden forces of evil, bent on destroying the security of the over-50 generation, most of whom (if they're like me) couldn't care less about whether "The Power of 10" comes into their living rooms in glorious living color. Who needs to see Drew Carey in super duper clear definition?
Something else is going on, I just know it.
Perhaps a powerful electronic lobby is pressuring Congress to make this move, under the threat of a world-wide blackout?
Perhaps a conniving Dr. Evil is gearing up his forces to obliterate the entire over-50 generation if they will not convert from their backward lifestyles and cross over to the evil techno lifestyle of the under 30's...
From what I gather, the government, in its great wisdom, is offering coupons for $40 off converter boxes. However, rumor has it that there will not be enough coupons to go around (at 70 million, I don't doubt it), AND the coupons have to be used within 90 days of receipt.
So.....what happens if the retail establishments of our great nation fail to have these illustrious converter boxes in a supply ample enough for all of us?
I can see Mr. I-Went-Online-and-Got-my-Coupon-Early arriving at Best Buy, only to find that they have not received their shipment. So the coupon expires. Uh, oh, can we spell M-A-D C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R???
Speaking of Best Buy: I called them today to ask about the converter boxes. Well, I'll tell you - That's an experience, in itself. It took me 2 hours to get anyone to answer the phone! I'm not kidding! I tried all four lines: "Push 1 for our hours, Push 2 for a sales representative; Push 3 for the Geek Squad; Push 4 for an operator." There was nobody home for TWO HOURS! When I finally did get someone, it was some poor little floor clerk who said she was just being nice by answering the phone. She took a message for the manager, who did call me back, but he directed me to the 1-800 number, where I reached another answering machine.
I think Best Buy is operated by robots, so I foresee another sinister plot to conquer the world...
I'm serious - Can anyone explain this cataclysmic decision to jerk the population of the United States into the 22nd Century??
This is your confused rural reporter Madeline, signing off from the ancient, backward hills of downtown Tillman, Missouri, population - 25 - 30 humans, nine goats, and numerous hound dawgs...
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.