'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
TV’S EVERYWHERE BUT NOTHING ON
Have you noticed that TV screens are everywhere these days? I don’t mean just inside people’s homes, where the average American family now has at least eight television sets, including one in the kitchen, the dining room, every bedroom, and of course a monstrous flat-screen model in the living room—or as it’s called, “the media room.” A friend of mine is planning to get a small TV for his bathroom. And I thought bringing along the newspaper caused people to stay in the john longer than necessary. My friend will go to the bathroom on Tuesday morning and not come out until Thursday. (Boy, will his legs be numb!)
There’s no doubt that the number of TVs inside private residences has mushroomed in recent years. But I’m amazed by the number of TV screens in public facilities nowadays. I first noticed this phenomenon a couple of years ago at the branch office of my local bank. I walked in one day and saw a couple of flat screen televisions hanging from the ceiling. I guess the idea is that the customers will be distracted by CNN and won’t notice that although there are 17 bank employees behind the counter, only one teller window is actually open.
Then I noticed TVs in grocery stores. Large flat screens are suspended above various areas, such as the produce department and the meat counter. Small screens are mounted by each checkout line, wedged between the impulse-buy candy rack and the tabloid magazines.
There are TVs in some, but not all, Dunkin Donuts stores. (I know this for a fact because I regularly visit all DD stores in the state. And when I say all, I mean ALL of them.)
Small television screens now can be found in elevators. I guess the journey from the lobby to the fourth floor is so time-consuming the passengers can’t live without being entertained for all of 32 seconds.
I went to a baseball game at Fenway Park not too long ago, and they have installed multiple flat screen TVs all over the park. If you go below the grandstand to buy a hot dog (8 bucks), a beer (10 bucks), or an authentic David Ortiz game jersey (see your bank officer for a loan application), you can still watch the game while standing in line.
Even outside of Fenway there are large TVs mounted to the walls of the ballpark. When people leave in the 7th inning to beat the traffic, they can watch a couple more at-bats on the way out. (Did I just say “beat the traffic” regarding Fenway Park? Impossible. You can’t beat Back Bay traffic on game days. You can only hope to survive it.)
Most restaurants now have dozens of TV screens. Not too long ago if a restaurant had two TVs, it was considered a “sports bar,” since you could watch two different games at once. Today, even restaurants and bars that have no interest in sports will have eight or 12 or 400 television screens. Going out to eat is a lot like going into the video department of an appliance store.
I guess it won’t be long before TV screens start appearing in even more unusual places. I predict nano-technology soon will allow membrane-thin screens to be implanted on the inside of our eyelids, so we can watch Leno and Letterman at night even while asleep.
Next I bet there will be screens installed on the inside of coffin lids, so even when we’re dead we won’t miss an episode of Judge Judy. Welcome to a Brave New World.
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