Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Cable Guy

I got a letter a month ago saying we had to surrender our old PVR. (DVR, for my American friends.) Apparently, Flin Flon has been stuck with analog television for far too long, and Shaw was bringing us into the 21st century.

The boxes arrived (three instead of one!) and I let them sit until the day my TV wouldn’t work anymore. The boxes had big ‘Self Installation,’ stickers on them, which I didn’t necessarily believe. When something technologically challenging comes along, Clarence is always out of town. But I got the first one unpacked, unhooked the old PVR and stuck the new one in place. The television listed a random message meaning, ‘No. I don’t think so.’

So I called the cable guy. And you know what that’s like. You’re on hold for so long, and when you finally reach someone, they accidentally hang up on you. At least, that’s my story. Anyway, at last I was talking to Dave. (Not his real name. I’ve forgotten it.) He informed me that I had to have the unit authorized. Well, why didn’t they say that in the letter? We got that done with the first machine. It worked. Then Dave announced that I’d have to call back if the others weren’t ready yet. “No, wait!” I shouted into the phone, and promptly put him on speaker mode.

“I’m taking you into the basement, Dave.” He was mildly interested in accompanying me there. I set the phone on the coffee table. After heaving around the furniture and mumbling bad words I hoped Dave couldn’t hear, I got the second PVR hooked up. It wouldn’t work. Both of us started feeling very frustrated, but he managed to keep calm. He said things like, are you sure the co-ax cable is switched to the PVR and not still on the TV? I checked. Then I lied. “Yep, but let me tighten it a bit.” We both cheered as we realized it was working. Two down, one to go.

I was heading upstairs to the bedroom when I realized I’d left Dave in the basement. “I’m sorry, Dave,” I hollered. “I’m coming back to get you.” He replied, but I couldn’t really hear what he said. I’d left the living room TV on Turner Classics, so the backdrop to all my stress was a deep baritone voice singing romantically in an old Errol Flynn movie.

I fetched Dave and we went into the bedroom. We couldn’t get this one to work at all. In the meantime, Dave, my cable guy, asked, “What’s that racket?” We were feeling quite comfortable at this point. “Some guy in an Errol Flynn movie,” I said. After that, he started talking a lot more slowly.

Now that I’d been relegated to confused senior status, we decided I should mail the broken one back. Fortunately, I came to my senses and realized we have a Shaw office in town. Exchange made. Problem solved. I feel I owe Dave a dinner, in spite of all his attempts to persuade me otherwise. Unfortunately, he’s never there when I call. In lieu of that, I’d be happy to phone Shaw’s head office and sing his praises, if only I could remember his real name. Oh Dave. Perhaps I’m watching the right channel after all.

Dear Sigmund Freud

Please forgive the cliche, but I have a bone to pick with you. Back in the day, you suggested that the words we sometimes mis-speak are laden with some alternate meaning, usually having to do with sex. Some of us happen to disagree with you. For example.

I was at our church tea after community choir when a friend sat down at my table. I’d left practice early, so I asked a question of my fellow alto. “What did you sing after the hand job number?”

While the people at my table laughed, I began building a pretty good case against you, Dr. Freud. You see, one of the songs from Grease is called, Hand Jive.’ The fact that I called it something entirely different means nothing about my state of mind. NOTHING.

There are those of us living on the planet who happen to dwell in Freudian slip land. We frequently say the wrong thing. I once said, “Would you like some death with your soup?” to a little old lady, while handing her the bread basket. Honestly, bread and death both contain the letters ‘ea’ which almost makes them a slipdong. I mean a dipthong. (Think of a pair of tiny bikini panties. It helps.)

Meanwhile, some of us also like to use colourful descriptions. Like, ‘He was very thickheaded.’ This does not mean that your mind has taken a sexual turn. It just means that you’ve been singing the Hand Job song. (ha ha, just kidding.)

Once, at choir, a young French Canadian was struggling to sing her part. The conductor was trying to find her a good spot to stand in for the performance. Meanwhile, some of us (or maybe just me) were praying, “Please, don’t put her over here!” She had a strong accent, and tended to sing the words  a couple seconds after everyone else had finished. Anyway, she took one look at me and said loudly, “I cannot take the hate.”

I immediately, and guiltily, jumped in. “Nobody hates you. Of course not!” The other altos all had their eyes averted. I was swimming in the deep end, and it was up to me not to sink. (cliches were invented for a reason.)

“Not the hate,” she said, with great irritation. “The hate.” I was dumbfounded. And then I realized she meant, “I cannot take the height.’ She was short, like me, and wanted to stand in the front row. Another meaning for dumbfounded? Finding out you are dumb. That was me, in the moment. Regardless. Sometimes, Sigmund Freud, a cigar is just a cigar. Even for a heavy smoker like you.