It really wasn’t a bad TV (a poem)

The end of an era—donated my dad’s old TV to Goodwill this afternoon. (The featured image for this post is a photo of the set I took while watching The Nightly Show.)

I took your old TV to Goodwill today
You know, the one you bought 13 years ago
and never did quite know how to set up

You had it set so that the old picture format
would zoom to fill the entire screen
making everything you watched look horrible—
even the stuff in high definition

That’s the set we watched the inauguration on
I took pictures as Aretha Franklin sang
and the chyron changed from ‘The Inauguration of Barack Obama’
to ‘The Inauguration of President Obama’

and the set we watched old movies on
after Thanksgiving dinner
or when we needed something to distract us
from having to make conversation

You’d fall asleep sometimes
but your eyes would still be partly open

(Sometimes I wondered: Is he dead?)

You gave us the set when you moved to California
you said you’d buy a new one when you got there
(you wouldn’t have had room in the van anyway)

That was when I found out
it really wasn’t a bad TV set after all—
it just needed the proper settings

We put it in the bedroom
where we’d watch episodes of Lost at the end of the day
(I’d skip ahead when she was late
then watch them again when she got home)

I got the TV in the divorce

It really wasn’t a bad TV
it did what I needed it to do
and never gave me problems

That’s really what you want from a TV set, isn’t it?

In the end, it had nothing to do with the TV—
I needed to replace something
and a new set was the best option

I held on to it
because I thought Mom was going to need it
but her TV was fine—just a loose connection

I wasn’t sure I was going to get it out of the apartment by myself, anyway—
the thing was so damn heavy—
but it wasn’t going to do me any good
sitting there in the middle of my living room floor

So this morning I carried it down to my car
and put it in the back
(no way could I have driven to Bellingham like that—
not being able to see out the rear window)
and drove it the couple miles to Goodwill

‘Is it working?” the attendant asked
‘We’ll take it either way”

‘It works just great,’ I answered
‘But I had to get a new device’

So now it’s gone
I won’t have to worry about it anymore

Whoever gets it next will have the remote
so they won’t have to find one somewhere

It really wasn’t a bad TV

(2 July 2019)


Wishes sometimes have consequences is available—order now from your favorite local bookstore!

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