Choices
Financing The Demons Back during the dawn of history when I was just out of college and knew everything, I did TV repair work; my degree was in electronics and I thought at the time it was what I wanted to do. Usually I enjoyed it except for when we had a call in St Louis , which was about 30 miles away, full of traffic, bad air and mean people. One nice sunny day Pete, my helper and I got a call there. It was 30 years ago but I still remember it well, it was on Russell street , which I hated because of the neighborhood. I was a country boy and this was the heart of the city to me. Pete was an easygoing guy, a country boy too but he didn’t gripe about going up there like I did. Anyway, it was a nice sunny day, we found the address and went and gave a knock or two on the door. After a few seconds the door opened and an old lady of at least 142 years old invited us in. From the look of her hair I first thought that the problem was that she had been fooling around inside her set and got shocked badly. Her hair was snow white but stuck out in every possible direction wild and almost dangerous looking. She was a very nice little old lady, her little apartment was clean, and she ushered us into her little bedroom, which contained her little bed, a chair next to a window and a little Zenith TV. It was turned on and looked like it was running just fine. I asked her what the problem was and she proceeded to tell me. There was, she said, demons in her TV. I managed to keep a straight face, Pete however suddenly buried his face in the toolbox looking for tools, I knew that he had more trouble dealing with this than I did and rather than bust out laughing at her very serious matter, chose to look elsewhere. What to do?  It was now clear to Pete and I that she was a bit off, neither of us wanted to insult her but we also couldn’t just get up and leave as there was a 60 mile drive and labor for 2 guys that had to be dealt with and our boss would certainly have dealt with it. Dutifully, I removed the back cover, looked inside intently and announced that I didn’t see any demons, and to get her to feel better informed her that I had never seen a demon in a Zenith TV, it was true after all. I didn’t want to charge her a lot of money for doing nothing, so I made several little adjustments, cleaned her tuner, checked and seated all the tubes, (yes, it was that long ago), did everything I could find that needed to be done. While I worked, I got involved in a conversation with her, she was creepy but she was friendly. She told me that Mr. Spark appeared in her room one night, I didn’t understand who she was talking about and she impatiently said “you know, Mr. Spark, on that TV show, star tracks, that pointy eared guy!” Oh, silly me, I got it now. She went on to say that he told her there were demons in her TV set, told her that she had to kill them, and to do it fast. After that, she said, his lapel started to glow and he disappeared. Poor Pete was now in hysterics so he stood up and walked over and started to look out the open window in order to not look at her. I didn’t have that luxury. After I had done everything I could do, I put the cover on, went around the channel range, asked her if it looked ok to her and assured her there were currently no demons in her TV. She was happy…. Until I gave her the bill. I felt sorry for her, had it been my decision I wouldn’t have charged her (I never have been a good business person) but our boss wouldn’t be so understanding. She started to cry, my heart sunk. She was very poor, she told me, and that she had very little money. There was no doubt of that from looking at her surroundings that she was telling me the truth. I explained to her about the long drive, the labor and our boss’s lack of sympathy but to no avail. Crying now like a banshee (I always imagined they would look and sound much like that) she disappeared into another room. She appeared again very shortly but with a long curved butcher knife, or a machete, which was raised above her head ready to plunge into something or someone. I gulped, Pete jumped out the window and hit the pavement with a loud thud and moan. I was in the process of planning my own escape route when she went to her bed and stabbed her pillow then pulled the knife down it, I envisioned it being Pete or myself. She reached inside it and withdrew a handful of cash which she gave to me, knife still in her other hand. I hurriedly gave her her change, my hands shaking and made for the door. Pete was by that time stumbling out of the alley toward the truck while rubbing his head. We left town, me shaking and Pete hurting, we didn’t stop for lunch. The next day we had a good laugh at it, our boss didn’t seem to care, to us it was just a crazy old lady. Now, over 30 years later I have changed my mind, I believe now, that she was right. Though there were no demons inside her set, there were and are demons directing what comes out of it. For years we didn’t have TV, the quality was junk and it got worse all the time. A while back we decided to give it another try when our local cable company offered a special deal. It was worse than ever, language, content, nudity had all gotten worse and were getting worse by the month. We kept it for about a year then when they decided to raise the rate I decided it had gone too far and I had to take a stand. It was sickening to me that I had been supporting that trash for a year. I was mad at them and mad at myself for tolerating it. So I had it turned off. The people at the cable office were in disbelief, they were of the opinion that people can’t do without their service. They were wrong, at least in my case. I haven’t missed it for a second and have no urge to get back again. I know it won’t happen, because some people ARE powerless to live without it and would make innumerable excuses at the suggestion to have it turned off, but I wish people would take a stand. If they did maybe, just maybe, the media would get a clue and make some changes. I for one am through financing the demons.
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