Guy Ellis

We’ve been having a small debate at my house lately. All of the debates at my house are small. It’s a consequence of one party, my wife, having the equivalent of a senatorial super-majority while my delegates, to use that same example, number in the single digits.

And that’s really the way it should be because there’s little doubt that she is smarter than me- usually!

Our newest small debate centers around the purchase of a new television set; specifically one of the newer space-age-whizz-kid, large, high definition, plasma units. And, surprise!, it’s my wife that thinks our living room needs a new TV while I’m trying my best to avoid it.

It’s no surprise that a giant new electronic device would be on the radar of most consumers at this time of year. Just a cursory glance at the sales figures of electronic devices show a large spike in units moved between now and the end of the year. But while most consumer electronic goods tend to suffer a sales dip after the holidays, TV sales, according to the figures I looked at, continue to be strong.

The reason? Two words: Super Bowl.

So, back to my house, the majority is looking for a new TV and I’m filibustering hard against it, more than aware that a supermajority can kill a filibuster with ease. But, so far, my wife has graciously indulged my protests regarding a new TV.

My reasons are simple enough, at least to me. I have superstitious feelings, maybe even overly self-conscious beliefs, about what a TV set says about its owner.

For instance: My grandfather has a movie theater-type TV in his living room. And why not? He has worked hard his whole life and should enjoy the fruits of his labor. A couple of years ago Grandpa’s previous movie-screen-type TV broke down on a Saturday night. Because he’s a local kind of guy LAB, as I call him after his initials, dialed up the owner of the local TV shop the next day at his home.

“Hey, I know it’s Sunday and you’re closed,” he said, “but I need you guys to bring me out a new TV today.”

“Well,” came the slow reply, “what kind of TV were you thinking about?”

“Oh, just send the biggest one you’ve got.”

It was delivered and installed within two hours – just in time for the Gene Autry re-runs on the Western Channel.

Of course, LAB has earned that kind of luxury. Have I really done enough with my life to have a TV that rivals his?

And, besides, we already have four TV sets in the house- do we really need another one?

I’m thinking back to a friend from home who had a TV set that perfectly reflected his personality and outlook on life. While most considered my buddy “cheap” I always preferred to think of him as money-wise. He saved cash, lived below his means, and invested wisely. His TV set? A 19-inch unit with rabbit ears and tin-foil coming out the top. It was the perfect statement about his priorities, namely that the TV is a trivial thing and that, while it is perhaps a necessary evil, it shouldn’t rise to a level of importance that requires spending as much on it as a person did for their first car.

Don’t get me wrong. I have another friend back home who has something in his house that he calls a “media room.” Besides opulent seating, the room possesses a giant TV set and four other medium-sized sets. Obviously on “Game Day” his house is the place to be. My friend can get away with something like that because of one simple reason, I suspect: He and his wife haven’t had kids yet.

And so, back to my new TV dilemma, I don’t feel that my family needs such an ostentatious thing as a giant screen sitting in our living room. Just as I wouldn’t purchase today the kind of flashy sports cars that I drove as a twenty-something I don’t think I need to have a flashy TV set in my house right now. Some extravagancies need to be exorcised early while others should wait until later in life, I think.

Anyway, whichever new TV my wife eventually picks out, I’m dreading attempting to hook it up to the rat’s nest of wires and cables for speakers, DVR, and other miscellaneous accessories we have connected now to our old set.