We are in the midst of rebuilding our house after extracting a 2007 Acura from the bedroom where it was abruptly parked, 9 weeks ago.
The latest house renovation is re-connecting some of the ATT phone linkage which was damaged during the crash. My hat is off to those dedicated techies who spend hours on their knees, on pea gravel in crawlspaces of 50-year-old houses, communing with spiders while they unravel nests of old wires, looking for a dial tone.
Cable and wires are my nemesis.
The current Stanley Cup playoffs remind me of my near cable undoing during the 1976 Canada Cup.
Forty years ago we had no television. We found great entertainment listening to the radio. But there was a new show on– M*A*S*H, and curiosity drove me to see it.
We had inherited a small black and white television, but its rabbit ear aerial could only bring in fuzzy pictures, even from the three local stations. I had learned that a new invention–cable– could pipe in perfect imagery.
All I needed to do was to subscribe. But reportedly, the cost was huge, so we stayed with radio. Inspector Maigret on CBL Toronto was great theater.
At the time, we rented in a townhouse complex, one of about thirty 2-story apartments surrounding a common. Blue collar young families used the common as a play ground for their kids, who could run off their patios and into the parkland, well within the confines of the complex.
Our next door neighbor Buzz was a truck driver. Buzz wasn’t an outlaw, but you could tell by the look in his one good eye and the stitchery across his face that he met challenges head on, or at least, with his head.
We called him Buzz after we heard him holler across the common to a neighbor about a batch of turkey buzzard soup he was making. -Not sure that he was a hunter, and it would not surprise me to find he was feasting on something from the grill of his rig.
On any warm evening we could wave to our neighbors who might be on the patio, barbecuing, or enjoying dessert outside.
In September, 1976, the common discussion was about The Canada Cup series. This was a fierce hockey competition between Canada, Finland, Russia and Czechoslovakia which were fighting each other on the ice for supremacy.
The game between Canada and the Czechs was starting soon, and the chatter all along the patios was about our chances.
On our patio, I was brewing a solution to the TV viewing problem. Gyro Gearloose, unleashed.
I had often seen in our basement the TV cable snaking along the ceiling, one wire going to each room upstairs. In the living room was a cable outlet. My figuring was, cut a length of cable from one of the unused bedroom lines, and use it to connect the TV in the living room.
After confirming it was a bedroom line, I deftly severed it to create a 3-foot piece of cable. Marching upstairs, I connected it to the wall, and to the TV.
Voila!! Pure, crisp and pristine TV viewing, not on three channels, but on TWELVE channels. And as I spun the dial, I found M*A*S*H. Wow! I was amazed by my brilliance. Running through the channels, I also found The Game. First period, and the Czechs are pounding Canada.
Pretty pumped, I went on to the patio to brag about our newfound cable reception. I wasn’t expecting high-fives, because everyone already had cable, but still…
Outside there was commotion. Unsettled residents were sliding open their doors, crossing over to their neighbors, assembling in groups. There was a mild but growing grumble of discussion floating across the common.
“What’s up?” I asked.
Buzz growled. He stood about 6’4″ and 260 pounds. The devil tattoo on his forehead was pulsing. “Cable’s out. How about yours?”
“Oh, geez, no, hahah, mine’s fine!” I blurted out. I hardly had seen the words float across to his pierced cauliflower ears before I realized my blunder.
“Good. We’re coming over. Got a bottle opener?”
“Well, let me just check the kids, first.” I dove back in to the living room, slammed the door, and literally ripped the cable out of the television. Unscrewing the wall plate, I pulled the piece out, and ran to the basement. Minutes later, I had re-connected the wire.
Running back up to the patio, I found Buzz gathering his restive and frustrated friends heading in to our living room.
Out of breath, I put on my most disappointed face, “Geez. Whaddyaknow..our cable is out too. Crap. Shucks. ‘Can’t get the game!” I kicked the lawn chair for emphasis.
In the next moment, another hockey fan grunted across the common: “Cable’s back on. What the…”
Buzz retreated with his entourage, shuffling back onto his patio, tearing off a prolonged belch as he slid open his living room door.
We retreated to ours as well. The TV screen was an oatmeal grey with Hawkeye swimming through it. I turned it off. Out on the patio, the sound of distant cheers.
Mean time, we clicked on the radio, Inspector Maigret, surveying a footprint in the garden. We leaned in closer to hear.
Thanks for reading! It wasn’t for a couple more months before I learned that cable was free: it was in the rent. Canada won the series. Go Hawks!