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|Steve Frame||Sep 15 2007, 10:02 AM|
How soap's strumpet broke my vintage VCR
EDITOR'S NOTE: Assistant Features Editor Dave Schlenker is a 15-year employee working his way down the corporate ladder. With the Star-Banner, he has been entertainment editor, reporter, community columnist, copy editor, night city editor and David Moore's cabana boy. He spent nearly four years at The Gainesville Sun; people kept calling him Bill, and he eventually realized he was in the wrong office. Last summer, he returned to the Star-Banner, where no one knew he had been gone. He and his wife, the former Amy Rowan (an Ocala native), have two daughters - Katie, 7, and Caroline, 4 - one cat, one puppy and two goldfish. He replaces departed Friday columnist Rashida Rawls.
My tussle with technology erupted the week Nick Newman's jet crashed into, apparently, a field of mattresses, leaving the studly executive mildly sliced and shirtless.
Thankfully, a gorgeous female doctor named Logan was hiking at the crash site and nursed the "The Young & the Restless" star back to health with tree sap and low-cut blouses. Soon, Nick discovered . . .
Discovered . . . our old VCR dead. It burped up some Amber-the-Hussy drama before its final gasp.
VCRs are not critical to our existence. All we did with a VCR was record this daily CBS soap opera. That's it. But this particular week happened to be heavy with shirtless Nick, and, thus, my wife's directions were clear: Buy a VCR. Now.
That quest, however, still haunts me; technology's 'roid rage continues to outpace everything I own.
A VCR? Store No. 1 only had DVD/VCR units. I already have a DVD player; I simply wanted a VCR. The clerk grinned with a mix of patience and pity. "A VCR," I told him again, suppressing the urge to spell it loudly and slowly.
Same situation at Store No. 2. Ditto at Store No. 3. Then Store No. 4.
There, on a high shelf in Electronics, was the last new VCR on the planet. I dashed off to find a clerk so I could claim this Holy Grail.
Soon, though, I noticed the pile of weary customers clumped around the unmanned Electronics counter. One woman, leaning on her shopping cart for support, looked at me and said, "Looking for an employee? Good luck."
In my euphoria, I failed to notice this eerie vacuum of workers. It reminded me of that old TV movie "The Day After," when a bedraggled Jason Robards roamed the ruined city looking for life after the nuclear attack.
On the search, I saw a customer feasting from a bag of candy she had plucked from a shelf. I would have reported her, but that would have required an employee. And, quite frankly, I was getting hungry myself.
Finally, I found a manager, who promised personnel. I returned to my slumped-over new friends, telling them of my long journey, the candy klepto and the Electronics clerk dispatched to save us all.
Ten minutes later, a befuddled employee from Lawn and Garden arrived. By this time, my new friends had given up, shaking off their cobwebs and thinking me a liar.
No matter. The VCR was mine. Hello Amber. Hello Logan. Hello . . .
"Sir, I'm sorry, but I can't get it unplugged," the worker told me. No joke. She was really, really trying - standing on a ladder, tugging, grunting and scratching at a nest of tangled wires. She could not free the planet's only new VCR.
"But . . . my soap."
Disbelief and defeat. All I wanted was one little VCR so my wife could look at another man's chest. But VCRs, too, have gone the way of the dodo.
I left the store empty-handed, the VCR still bolted to its shelf. Perhaps it's still there, taunting another poor schlep. I ended up buying some expensive doohickey that records on blank DVDs.
I mourn the VCR. Each new "big thing" dooms the last "big thing" to extinction, and slivers of our heritage fade into the cultural abyss.
Still, truth be told, I love our new 21st century, DVD player. It's shiny and new with buttons, and, well, I'm a guy. Some day, we'll get it to work, too. When that time comes, of course, another Newman crisis will set CBS ablaze and fry our new doohickey.
Personally, I blame Amber.
Dave Schlenker may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-867-4120.
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