Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tebo my Life – Please

We live in a day and age where technological advances verge on the magical. I can flip open my cell phone and talk to anyone anywhere on the earth at the push of a button, (that is of course if they are awake, choose to answer and I am within my calling area). I can send and receive emails at the speed of light to anyone I choose. That means my daughter can tattle on her husband to millions of people all at the same time, and those poor Nigerian Bankers can solicit help from every shmuk who owns a PC. (See blog from last week). And last but not least, I can core and slice an apple into eight perfectly shaped wedges all in one firm push. (That may not be a technological devise, but I think it’s pretty cool).

Other amazing advances make our lives longer and healthier. Tiny cameras assist with heart operations, medicines cure diseases we thought we’d never cure, and of course laser hair removal which is a marvel in and of itself. But perhaps the biggest boon to the average American was the invention of Tebo.

Can you imagine going back in time and running into Benjamin Franklin, the great statesman and inventor? Imagine his shock as you explained things like microwave ovens that allow people to create nacho’s in almost no time. Mp3 players that allow people to record more songs than they even know and watch full length movies on tiny little thumb nail sized screens. And then you could tell him about Tebo.

Granted, Tebo wouldn’t make a lot of sense to him at first, being that the founding fathers hadn’t invented TV yet, not to mention the TV station. And the idea of having the leisure time to sit in front of a screen for hours at a time might also seem strange to people who had to cut their own fire wood for warmth, carry water from a well to drink and if they over did it on the beans and bacon, they’d be trotting back and forth from the outhouse all night. But Franklin was a smart guy and eventually he would get the idea.

Then you’d spring it on him. In the twenty-first century we don’t miss a TV show, not even when we aren’t home. Our TVs can watch multiple shows all at the same time. We can be asleep but old Tebo never rests recording hours and hours of The Simpsons, Law and Order and Cooking with Emile. In one day, Tebo can record more television than we could watch in a month.

Of course technology doesn’t come without a price. We are much wider and lumpier than our counterparts in the seventeen hundreds (thanks in part to the microwave nachos). And TV does become so addictive that people put them in every room in their house, including the bathroom. But those are relatively minor compared to what I like to refer to as the Tebo snapback syndrome.

You’ve all experienced curling up in front of the tube, and scanning through the channels till you find something really good to watch. (like an old movie starring a very young Pierce Brosnan and Twiggy). Then about forty-five minutes into the program a notice comes on the TV telling you that American Idol and Sponge Bob Square-pants are scheduled to record in five minutes and you either need to cancel a recording or turn off the TV. What a moral dilemma that puts one in. Which family members TV viewing tastes are more important, and what are the repercussions of choosing one family member over another. It’s mind boggling, and I suspect that even old Benjamin would be stumped.

I've given this issue a great deal of thought I think I've come up with an answer. It is that...

Whoops. I just looked at the clock and I only have a forty minute window in between I Love Lucy recordings to catch last week’s Wheel of Fortune, so I’d better run. Bye!

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