A remnant of my husband’s bachelor days, the 54-inch television was a monstrosity of picture and sound.
When hooked up to six large stereo speakers, a digital tuner, a 6-disc CD player and a few other pieces of unidentifiable but apparently necessary equipment, it was exactly what an unmarried male needed to entertain himself on the long, lonely nights before a lovely wife entered his life.
After our marriage it was banished to the basement. Its only reprieve came during football playoffs and the National Hot Dog Eating Championships when it was vital to watch Man at his best in bold and living color.
“It’s such a waste,” my husband, Jon, said while shaking his head sadly. He laid a hand upon the television and closed his eyes, no doubt the memories of larger-than-life versions of “Baywatch” and “SportsCenter” flashing through his mind.
Shucks. That’s just sad. And it was that brief moment of pity for a man in mourning that prompted the next words to stupidly exit my mouth. “Why don’t we move it upstairs?”
Jon’s eyes opened wide with shock. “Really?” he said with disbelief.
Ignoring the screaming voice in my head that was questioning my sanity and my ancestry, I answered, “Sure. How hard can it be?”
So we got down to business. We measured and thought and measured again. Made some sketches. I drew a dirty picture of a raccoon and a penguin. That didn’t seem to help our cause, but I found it funny anyway.
After roaming around the house for an hour with the tape measure, Bob Vila and I decided the only other place the television could go was in the master bedroom. Up two long flights of stairs and 28 God-fearing steps.
Suddenly this didn’t seem like such a terrific idea. Especially when my husband couldn’t talk any of his manly friends into helping us move the darn thing.
“Well, I guess that’s it,” I said with just enough sadness in my voice to make it believable. “Looks like the television stays in the basement.”
Jon nodded absentmindedly as he headed out the front door. He returned five minutes later with our next-door neighbor. A nice, weight-lifting college student who apparently would do anything for $20.
I shook my head sadly. The poor guy had no idea what he was up against. With a 40-something-year-old husband and a 20-something-year-old college student, I figured together they averaged a 30-year-old with a bad back and high blood pressure.
They would need to heave a 300-pound box measuring four feet across up 28 steps, down two hallways and around one landing. Even the dog understood that was bad math.
Imagine my shock when they actually did it. It’s amazing what a man will do in order to see Paris Hilton life-size on E! Television in his bedroom. And thankfully neither guy strained a groin muscle because, really, I understand that’s painful.
Safety first, though. We decided it best to remove the wheels from the base, just in case our toddler son decided to play the “Wonder what kind of noise this’ll make if I push it down the stairs” game.
I drew the short straw and ended up with the task of getting down on the floor to remove the wheels. Jon braced himself, grabbed the sides of the large black box and leaned the television back toward him.
He let out a short grunt and said, “This is one heavy son-of-a-hey-where-are-you-going?” as I walked toward the door.
“Just thought I’d quickly review our life insurance policies,” I said. He wasn’t amused.
So I grabbed the screwdriver and said, “I’m going in.” I bent over then stopped and straightened back up to gently remind him, “Don’t drop it, OK?”
“I won’t drop it.”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“Because, you know, it looks heavy….”
“Yes, it IS heavy. Believe me.”
“…and your face is kinda turning that purple color that scares the dog.”
The tic that appeared next to his right eye told me I was pushing my luck. But I couldn’t resist and said, “Lefty loose-y, righty tight-y, right?” while holding up the screwdriver and twisting it in the air.
I swear. Death rays shot from his eyes.
Now that, I thought, would make great television.
(originally published Aug. 2006)