Stupidity on the Big Screen

Technological progress belongs solely to the item, while the user is in regression.

To be honest, technological progress leaves me cold. It even frustrates me. While the financial wherewithal to purchase an item is satisfying, the operating instructions are a nightmare. The bottom line is pretty depressing: Technological progress belongs solely to the item, while the user is in regression.

Some members of my family, a few of them hostile, have decided to renovate their home. It's been four years since the last renovation, and, as far as fashion is concerned, they argue that our little hut is passe. The living room furniture, once all the rage and priced accordingly, became potential wood for the Lag Ba'omer bonfires. When the new contents for the house arrived, a clear trend emerged: We paid a lot more for less stuff. If this fashion continues, in two years our new cupboard will be transformed into artistically carved toothpicks at the bargain price of NIS 30,000.

The little bench - some are calling it a cupboard - proved to be a fragile work of art. When an archaic item in the form of a 34-inch television (color, of course), was placed on it, we had a home-version of the Titanic. A week later when the slant of the little bench grew worse, and the calm of sleep was disturbed by anticipation of a massive bang in the middle of the night, the penny dropped: plasma NOW, or an LCD.

The effort to figure out what the best option would be, which was doomed from the start, went on for two months. Advantages and disadvantages were raised, Web sites for comparing prices became our home portals, good friends were tagged as failures for being unable to answer critical questions: plasma or LCD; resolution; what kind of connections are really essential; is it possible to make do with an outdated television that is technologically equipped for HD, or is it necessary to also have the third letter, F, which says the appliance will remain up to date for the next five months?

Major low points still awaited us. The purchase, for example. Another technology trick - there is no relation between knowledge and understanding. The salesman, apparently a genius in his area of expertise, fired information at a dizzying pace, rejected items, praised others and used terms that I only encountered on the science channel. The sort of situation that makes you flip immediately to the sports channel to make you feel like a champ.

Some NIS 14,000 was sacrificed for a plasma TV and a home movie center. The well-known stand-up trio, the Gashash Hahiver, once lauded a stereo system and said they heard a crappy Julio Iglesias. Now I get his son, Enrique, through the walls of my living room. Very troubling.

The Titanic was saved, the wall behind it is gone and the living room now has two new remote controls. These are smaller but with many more buttons. One of them is red, and with it I have absolute control: on/off. The rest are a riddle. This could have been an amusing enigma had it not been for the three years I had been given to solve it until this fossil would also be removed from the future contemporary living room. Who has the time for this, when 90 percent of the riddle in the functions of my cellphone has still not been solved?

Ask me how the picture is? Big. Enjoyable? Possibly, but I recalled what the salesman told me in his lecture on the plasma TV - that it has one problem: reflection. Alas, my stupidity is now being reflected off a 50-inch screen.