by Nancy Ford
Unbeknownst to most of you, I have been in a long-term, committed relationship for some time. She was big and bright and loud, yet sleek and trim in all the right places. I called her TeeVee.
Every night after my long, hard day of gaygaygay, TeeVee was there, waiting to greet me with a story or a song. Always ready to be turned on, she was an unlimited, reliable source of information and entertainment. On any given night my friend allowed me to visit Rachel Maddow without the slightest hint of jealousy. She switched blithely from the History Channel to the Food Network to I Love Lucy reruns without a moment’s hesitation. Sometimes she surprised me on a weekend with a daylong marathon of The Godfather saga. She told me when to toss an umbrella into my briefcase.
She didn’t get angry or hurt when I stared blankly at her without listening. The touch of one magical button muted her while I conducted another conversation or was simply longing for some peace and quiet. She even turned herself off at night after I’d gone to sleep.
It was the perfect relationship. She fit into my life as comfortably as ABBA at a Pride parade.
One night near the end of January, I came home from my office ready to spend the evening with my loyal companion. As was the common drill, I reached for her as I simultaneously unfastened my bra. But there was no response. She was as cold as Al Roker in a Washington, D.C., snowdrift at dawn.
I tried in vain to revive her, pushing all her buttons, switching cables. I even hit her on her side to jump-start her inner parts—all to no avail.
Letting go, I pulled TeeVee’s plug, retreating numbly to my bedroom to spend time with her much older, much heavier sister—let’s call her Clunky—who isn’t nearly as sharp or vibrant.
Damn. I didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye. But how could anyone have imagined this would happen? She was just fine one day, and then the next day, she was gone. I took her presence for granted. I regret that.
It wasn’t long before my numbness turned to anger. How could she leave like this with no warning after all the time we spent together? How dare she do this, just a few days before the Super Bowl? I was as pissed as Elizabeth Edwards listening in on the extension phone on Christmas Eve.
Repairing TeeVee would cost almost as much as replacing her, I soon learned. Because I know she wouldn’t have wanted me to suffer long without a new companion, I began trolling the Internet for her successor: SGF seeks companion for long-term relationship. Must be willing to be turned on for hours, and then abandoned without explanation. Sets of color welcomed; non-American a plus. The bigger, the better.
After some intense Googling, I found a company based right here in Texas, one that’s well-known for manufacturing computers, that offered a beautiful new set—one in my league that I was able to afford. She was bigger and stronger than TeeVee, yet weighed less. No one had ever turned her on before. And she was Asian! Undeniably, we were a match.
I quickly dragged her into my electronic shopping cart and entered my Visa number. The painful gush of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars being drained from my bank account was offset by my anticipation of the rich Dolby sound that would soon fill my living room. I was as happy as Angelina Jolie signing adoption papers.
The website promised she would arrive in plenty of time for Super Bowl kick-off. In less than a week and, remarkably, within the first hour of the vaguely appointed window of her arrival, the deliveryman toted my new friend up my winding staircase. The freshly dusted entertainment center awaited her, as shiny as a new Walmart cradle at the Duggars’ house.
Moments after she was delivered through the door, it became apparent that somewhere along the way someone had taken a sledgehammer to her. Her flimsy, delicate packaging had been bashed as wantonly as a drag queen at a Promise Keepers’ convention.
Inexplicably, the driver had not noticed the mauled packaging before he hauled it off the truck, through the entrance doors, across the courtyard, and up the stairs. But it’s heartwarming to know that a blind man can find employment in shipping.
After I refused delivery, he dragged the broken package away, leaving me all by myself to stare at the empty space once occupied by my friend. I was lonelier than a newborn in a commode on prom night.
I spent the next two hours on the telephone telling and retelling my tale, again and again, to at least six new friends who, despite unimaginable linguistic obstacles, enjoy successful careers in customer service. Again: heartwarming.
Then came insult to my injury. Replacing TeeVee’s bashed replacement would be impossible, you see, because that new, sleek, lighter, Asian model is now permanently out of stock.
Nearly three weeks after opening my bank account to the vultures who greedily took advantage of me in my delicate time of need, I was still awaiting my refund. Meanwhile, Clunky has moved from my bedroom into my living room where TeeVee once held court in all her expansive, flat-screen glory. But it’s just not the same.
I don’t spend much time with Clunky. Most of my evenings are now spent commiserating with others who are suffering like I am, in a chatroom at IHateDell.net.The site has more horror stories than Stephen King on a six-pack of Red Bull.
I hope I never see you there.
This one’s for you, Michael. Rest in peace.