When I was a small kid, we never had a television set. I am guessing, looking back, that this was probably a good thing as we had to go outside, use our imaginations and make up our own entertainment as we went along. We had plenty of music to help us pass the time, including a radio and even what passed for our own versions of CDs back in the day, though if I ever go talking about those old eight tracks, somebody may get the wrong impression and start thinking I am getting old … and I just will not have that.
Still, we never really had the chance to know what we were missing, so all things being equal, we never missed television all that much.
As we grew older and more “modern”, we did finally get electrical power, and even managed an electric pump for the well. My Uncle, ingenious inventor that he was, even rigged up an old vacuum cleaner through the toilet bowl in the indoor outhouse for the purpose of ridding it of any unwanted remnants that may be tempted to hang around, and that may interfere with the ability of the next person to come along to sit down and relax while they took care of their duties.
It was somewhere during this period in time when some well-intentioned wiseacre decided that we just had to have a television set or we would be missing something … an interesting choice of words as it turns out.
Let me sum up the entire world of television for you, in case you really do believe you may be missing something that may actually be relevant to your life. Idiot A thinks he has a big problem, Idiot B walks in with an even bigger problem and Idiot A goes on about his life very grateful that he only has his small problems and not the bigger problems the other idiot does.
These programs are often interspersed with other programs where a bunch of overrated, semi-famous people get together and perform ordinary routines and are lauded for being so diverse and flexible.
From time to time there is a made for television movie. In much the same fashion as the television shows, Idiot A comes along and has a problem. Idiot B comes along with an even bigger problem, but in the case of the movies, Idiot A generally solves the problems of Idiot B and they are lauded as heroes no matter how idiotic the actions were that gave them their problems.
As you may have guessed, I do not have a very high opinion of television, much less television programs. It is my fervent belief that there has not been very much of anything worthy of merit since the days of the original Warner Brothers, Bugs Bunny and Friends Cartoons.
Even the cartoon version of Jackie Gleason and the Honeymooners was lacking in my book. If there was any redeeming quality at all in regards to the television set, it was the actual electronics. My dad and I had made crystal radios together and even used them on occasion when we were fishing or in our basement at night.
The television, if anything, is an even more intense construct, made up of substantially more than a little crystal and some copper wiring. The Cathode Ray Tube and more notably, the charged ionization process is pretty fascinating.
NASA launched a deep space probe a few years back, and that probe utilizes what they call an “Ion Engine” to power its flight into deep space. It generates about as much thrust as a piece of paper falling to the ground, but that thrust, lacking resistance as it does in space, builds up exponentially and will ultimately have that little probe burning through the galaxies at an amazing speed.
Why is that relevant here?
Because that ion engine is in reality, very little more than a television set without the pixels that the electronically charged ions would otherwise be charging. It is my firm belief that this is perhaps the most useful any television set has ever been … even if it was only the shared technology and not some actual television set hurtling through space. So as you may have guessed, no, I never really missed my television sets … quite the contrary actually.
Depending on the size of the television sets, my brother and I would usually set them up out somewhere around three hundred meters or so, maybe five hundred meters if it was a big console television set. We would plug it in to the generator so that we could power it up and get a good, clear picture and then we would make our personal choice.
I generally used the old M1 Garand in the 30-06 though my brother seemed to be more inclined to use the .308 caliber of the M14 … both rounds are nearly identical in ballistic impact, though the trajectories are a bit different and individually suited to our personal tastes. Funny, I never did miss even one of those television sets … well … there was that one time with the little ten inch black and white television set … but my brother intentionally bumped me when he sneezed … and in my defense, it was out at five hundred meters … and between that and the bump … I may have missed my television set on that one occasion.
Apart from that, I do long for the days of the Cathode Ray Tube, as they were always so reactive when you hit them.