Ever since we moved, Matt has been trying to get us to buy some old-fashioned “rabbit ears” to try to get at least a couple of stations on the TV. Not for the shows - he just knows how much I miss seeing the news, and how much Ed wants to see the weather forecast.
So we went to Target and bought the rabbit ears. It took Ed (technologically-challenged Ed) several attempts to hook the TV up to the VCR a few days back, so I was understandably worried about how he could hook up the antennae. Fortunately, it was pretty quickly, and we set about to find a signal.
No NBC, no CBS. Yes! ABC! Not our favorite news program, but we are desperate these days. Ed maneuvered the rabbit ears around while I surveyed the screen, clicking the remote. We ended up with only two stations - ABC and PBS. OK, not bad, we thought. It would do.
The next few minutes were spent trying to turn the rabbit ears around to varying positions to see how good a picture we could get. Ed was the contortionist, while I sat comfortably in a rocking chair giving feedback. “Yes...no...a little better...a little worse.” I felt as if I were in the optometrist’s office. It seemed kind of humorous that here we were in the 21st century, pleading with old-fashioned antennae to do something that we have taken for granted with cable. Moreover, I had a guilty pleasure feeling that I was stealing something. After paying for cable TV for decades, we were finally getting something FREE! Yeah! So what if it’s only two stations? So what if it hiccups and jumps and fades from color to black and white and back again? It’s FREE!
We watched the clock for 6 p.m., something we haven’t done in a while, anxiously anticipating our first local newscast. Oh my....there certainly were a lot of commercials. We forgot about those blasted commercials - one of the reasons we enjoyed not having TV. Finally the weatherman appeared. We sat back to savor it.
Unfortunately, this guy considered himself Mr. Entertainer. It was totally distracting. He wasn’t a low-key kind of entertainer that another weather person might have been. He was entirely annoying. “And this weather system is OUTTA HERE!!” (at which point he waved at the map). “SEE YA!!!!!” he shouted.
Ed and I just looked at each other. I started laughing and he was scowling and shaking his head. But this was it. We had no other choice for weather forecasts.
If that weren’t enough, half of the weather/news report consisted of commercials. Our old station would say, “Weather is brought to you by....” and name the furniture company or grocery store. That was it. On this ABC affiliate, they apparently have to work the sponsor several times into the script. “Our weather is brought to you by XXX, Bucksport Road. Hey, they sell fabric and drapes, and, hey, it’s for people who are into fiber arts! Hey, I don’t have a clue what fiber arts is - hey, maybe you don’t either - so why don’t you go down to XXX on Bucksport Road and ask them? Hey...”
The next night, I begged Ed to give the guy another chance. I had to beg hard - this weather guy was really getting to him. He finally relented, and we turned it on again. This time the guy was talking about a front approaching, initially in a quiet, nonchalant way. “Hey, looks like we’re in the clear, no rain, no snow...unless there might be a front coming into the picture... LIKE THIS ONE!” He screamed as he pounced on the weather system in the midwest, and he seemed to think it was funny that he probably gave old people heart attacks and made them have a urinary accident (not that this happened to us, but I’m sure it did to other people).
I don’t know whether we’ll get to watch Mr. Entertainer anymore. I don’t know if Ed is really up to it. But, hey - it’s FREE!