Technology brings excitement and embarrassment

Published 3:41 pm Friday, June 12, 2020


Community columnist

I always enjoy reading about history. One of my favorite times to study is the antebellum period.  I cannot help but to think what those people would think of the way we live today.

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Electricity, while normal to us now, would seem magical to the settlers. In fact, if you had told me years ago when I was a child about wireless internet with its invisible wires, I would have thought you were talking about magical things too, mainly because I would have been content to just figure out how to turn the channel on the TV without using a pair of pliers. 

I have to admit that I have an obsession with buying televisions. My wife will not allow me to go anywhere near the electronics section at Walmart because I am always trying to bring home a TV that is bigger and better with all the newest features, even though the one I have works just fine. 

I saw a TV recently that caught my fancy that was so big I had to measure my front door to make sure it would fit through. Once I got it home, I unpacked the TV from its container with excitement like a child on Christmas morning and read in the owner’s manual. In very small print on the bottom of the page a disclaimer said it was possible that the TV could observe me without my knowledge through its camera. 

As I read this, I was reminded of a childhood story that I have heard my mother tell many times. When I was young and before I started school, my daily routine was to watch Captain Kangaroo and follow it up with Romper Room. 

I was glued to the TV and they kept me entertained while my mother tended to her household chores. In fact, in order to prevent me from missing one minute of my show I refused to stop watching long enough to even go to the bathroom and convinced my mother to allow me to utilize my old potty training set while I watched TV instead, which in those days was nothing more than a large metal pot. 

On Romper Room, the host of the show would pretend she could actually see us watching and would mention different names every day and send out a big hello to us. My young mind was still trying to figure out how those people got inside my TV set to begin with. 

On this particular morning as I sat on my pot in front of the TV using the restroom, the host looked into the camera and said, “Hello Billy, hello Bobby and oh hi Jackie I see you there.”  Instead of waving back and being excited my name got mentioned, all I could think of was that my fears were finally confirmed that the lady inside my TV could see me and I was currently indisposed sitting on the pot. I picked up the pot with my little pants around my ankles and proceeded to shuffle my way behind a chair as fast as I could and peaked my head around the corner to see if the host was still watching me. 

As I began to focus again on unpacking the new TV, I chuckled when I realized the new TV may be able to actually watch me now as I feared it could so long ago as a child but at least it won’t be able to watch me on the pot. Well maybe not.