Thursday, 3 December 2020

Glass in My Eye

I have never known a time in my life without a TV. Maybe when I was a baby, but I wasn’t concerned with TV as I spent all of my time eating and filling my diaper. Granted that in the early fifties there wasn’t very much quality programming for anyone, let alone a toddler. Don’t get me wrong, I have never let the quality of a program keep me from watching it. TV was very much a part of my life then as it is now.


Every now and then the Black and white TV that we had would stop working and Dad would call in a TV repairman. The repairman would take the back off of the set, pull tubes out and test to see if they needed to be replaced. He always eventually got the set to work, but I suspect that the repair guys were learning their trade as they went and knew just a little bit more than Dad did. Eventually, when the TV went on the fritz dad would take the back of the set off himself , pull a few tubes and take them to the hardware store where there was a machine for testing tubes and of course they sold the replacements. Now it is cheaper to buy a new set than get the old one repaired.


For as long as I can remember, I was told in no uncertain terms that I should always play away from the TV set. I suspect that mom and dad valued the TV more than both my brother and I. We were told that the large picture tube (it really was large) if broken would implode due to the vacuum inside and send shards of glass flying thru the air into my eyes and shredding my flesh. Because it is glass the doctors would not be able to find all the glass and the left over bits would fester and eventually turn gangrenous which leads to a slow and painful death. Point taken, no baseballs around the TV. I had no reason to question my parents and have lived my life in mortal fear of large picture tubes, passing on that fear to my kids. When TV’s developed flat screens a decade or two ago I breathed a sigh of relief. One less thing to worry about.


We just bought a new set to entertain us during the second and possibly third wave of the Coronavirus. Mainly just because we wanted one. The old set has been banished to the basement to replace the other TV that replaced the even older TV that was a behemoth with a large vacuum tube. It was time for the behemoth to go and actually has been for quite a while but it is so heavy that I can’t lift it myself. Whenever one of the kids were around I would forget to ask for help until they left. No problem, we will deal with it later. Then the Coronavirus came to stay and so did the TV. However, I decided it had to go now.


My plan was to get it on the floor (gravity helped) and then strap it to a dolly, haul it up the stairs and out to the car, then drive it to the electronics recycling place, unload it and haul the dolly into the store and drop off the TV. Once I got it on the floor and brought the dolly in I realized there was no way in hell for the dolly to pick up the TV because it had such an odd shape. Okay, new plan. Take the plastic outer housing off and the set will be much lighter and easier to manhandle. Sure, I would then be dealing with a very large and potentially lethal, unprotected vacuum tube, but I could wear protection. Well, it turns out that the plastic housing weighs about 5 ounces and the vacuum tube about two hundred pounds.


I managed to get the tube onto the overly padded dolly and strapped it in well. As I pulled it up the stairs I was sure it would implode on every step. I got it out the front door and wheeled it around to the back. I long ago gave up the recycling idea and hoped that I could lift it into the garbage bin, it should fit with an inch to spare. I still couldn’t lift the TV, no muscles had grown in the past hour, but I realized that if I laid the bin down on it’s back and did the same with the dolly I should be able to slide that huge tube into the bin. Everything worked great except that the garbage bin tapers, getting smaller as you get closer to the bottom. Who thought that was a good idea? I lifted the bin, hoping that the TV would slide in enough so I could close the lid. Nope! I gave the bin a kick, heard a crack, a hiss and saw my life flash before my eyes.


Well, it turns out that I had been lied to my entire life. It makes sense that one of the first thing TV manufactures would have designed is a picture tube thick enough that it wouldn’t kill customers. Well, all bets were off and I could demolish the TV tube with wild abandon. Many years ago I bought a freakishly large, cartoon style sledge hammer which I have never had occasion to use. Until now! I tossed the hammer into the air and it came smashing down on the glass picture tube. What a satisfying sound! I tossed it into the bin several times until there was just large shards of glass left, none of which ended up in my eye.


I doubt that in the future the flat screen TV’s will give me the same kind of  satisfaction, but I will be able to haul it to the electronic recycling place using my own muscle power. Mind you, it might be fun to see what damage my sledge hammer can do. 

Monday, 30 November 2020

Porch Pirates

I was raised in a kinder, gentler time. We didn’t have any crime, people were nice to one another, parents were thoughtful and caring and politicians had the best interests of the people dictating there decisions. Everyone had jobs they loved, trees grew straight and tall and the birds sang all day long. Well, that was the view of an eight year old Ken and somewhat colours my take on reality.


Six decades later I have come to realize that although some of my perceptions of the world were accurate for my life, the rest of the world didn’t always behave the way it should have. People used to know right from wrong and there were lines that you didn’t cross. Of course there were criminals, but they seemed to have a code that they would live by. Stealing from corporations that had insurance or spent their time legally stealing from the public was fair game. Sure there were psychopaths and just plain evil people but thankfully those were a very, very small minority.


Criminals in the old days made a living from people that were on the edge themselves. I know that I have a simplistic view of the world. Maybe if we all shared that view things would be a little better.


I don’t know when things went wrong. Perhaps it was when drugs became much stronger and people needed to get higher and higher. If you are stoned all the time you can’t keep a job and if you don’t have a job then you steal what you need for your habit from regular people because they are easy prey. We all contribute to where our society is now and with the advent of online sales forums we are able to turn a blind eye about where an item comes from. A deal is a deal. Right?


How do you determine if the “reconditioned” cell phone, TV, or DVD player came to be sold by the original owner or someone that broke into a house and took the electronics late at night or in the afternoon while the owners were at work.  It is a strange world we have invented.


The latest crime of opportunity are being done by Porch Pirates. With the rise in online shopping it is a simple thing for someone to follow the Canada Post truck or Fed Ex truck and run up to the house and take the parcel that had been left. They don’t know what they are getting, it could be a kids toy, a cell phone, new pots, but what ever it is can probably be sold and with the proceeds they can buy their drugs. I find it offensive that the media outlets call them Porch Pirates. I am sure these scumbags like the idea of being pirates. Stealing from the rich and making a living by their wits. Well, it takes no intelligence to get out of a car and run up to a house to take the package on the porch.


These people are pathetic and deserve to be called what they are. Thieves and criminals. Scum. The people they steal from are devastated and never can live a peaceful life again. They have no conscience and if caught there should be a mandatory jail sentence doing hard labour. Make the bastards work until they drop. I guess I don’t believe in rehabilitation today. Maybe tomorrow.