The old T.V. set finally gave out.

It had rendered admirable and trustworthy service for over 20 years. Lately, however, it has started to flicker continuously and shut itself off at times of its own choosing. Even the great old American method for bringing machines to their senses did not work. Tapping and banging the T.V. on its top, repeatedly, proved fruitless.

Time to "bite the bullet." Time for a new T.V.

Having been there at the birth of national television in the 1940s, I prepared myself for T.V. shopping last week. I have lived through small Dumont sets with a magnifier, Uncle Milty on Tuesday nights, rabbit ears for reception, Argentina Rocca, Gorgeous George and other ostentatious wrestlers, The Twilight Zone, 60 Minutes, Seinfeld and a multitude of great and not so great television viewing.

Lorraine and I descended on the appliance store. In her hand she carried a 3-foot wooden ruler to make sure our eventual choice would fit into the cabinet. About 40 sets were flickering the Laker-Suns game as we stepped into the T.V. section. A salesman approached us and the three of us started on our quest to find the perfect television set.

Many new and unfamiliar words came into the conversation. Flat screen HDTV Liquid Crystal was the first one. The old set was bulky and formidable. The new ones were flat, sleek and skinny. Surge protector was another term. Extended Service protection and Plasma T.V. were more terms issued from the salesman's lips.

The old cable-box sitting on our now defunct T.V. set would have to be exchanged. Thank goodness the store would deliver the new set and install it. I am not a handy-dandy mechanic and I can use all the help I could get. Unfortunately, the $500 price kept escalating with every new nuance that was added. The final price was $857, including tax. You could have purchased three sets for that price in the old days.

Much of the mystique has gone out of television. The first family on the block to own a T.V. were considered heroes in the '40s and '50s. The first color sets were also a wonderful novelty.

It is almost easier to buy an automobile than step into the future with a new T.V. set.

I hope this one lasts for 20 years!

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