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Shell Shocked: Connecting the digital TV adaptor to the refrigerator

By Staff | May 19, 2020

Art Stevens

The directions looked easy enough. They said to plug the cable connector into the “in” plug on the TV set which then gets plugged into the back of the digital cable adaptor which in turn gets plugged into the cable outlet which in turn gets plugged into the back of the TV set. This wire goes here and that cable goes there and that plug goes that away.

What the cable company didn’t count on is that I have three left hands. I am so mechanically deprived that I require technical assistance from some phone service in India to charge the battery on my electric shaver. Plus a follow up call to change the rotating blades once a year.

I almost always need assistance when devices go haywire. I have no natural talent to fix them myself. There are many professional services in Sanibel to call on if something goes wrong in my house. If I hear beeping somewhere or the water pressure gets dangerously low; or the hot water isn’t hot enough; or there’s a small leak from one of the air conditioning vents; or the water filter needs changing – it’s the Sanibel service corps to the rescue.

But for some masochistic reason I decided to try to install the digital adaptor myself. My late wife would always bail me out if I should falter. And falter I did. If it weren’t for her I would have been completely lost around the house. She was incredible at assembling anything that came out of a carton. You name it – a chair, table, cabinet – she could assemble it. She had the gift. I used to think that she could assemble a Boeing 747 if they’d just let her. But my wife and I drew the line when it came to turning on the air conditioning system, the DVD player, the clock radio and the sprinkler system. She never bothered to learn how to set and turn on systems. So our arrangement was that she assembled and I turned things on. She also used to replace the batteries in the smoke detector devices. That was the story of our marriage.

But recently I decided to go beyond my talents and attach a digital adaptor device to the one TV set that wasn’t serviced through a cable box. My wife would have been astonished that I volunteered to do this because she had always assumed I would be calling India for technical assistance.

I thought that the cable company would send a technician to attach it. But not in the coronavirus we now live in. Little did I know that the cable company would simply send the device with all the cables and wires in the mail with instructions on how to assemble them.

When the instructions made it clear that even a child could assemble this simple device in five minutes I decided to give it a try. Obviously, the cable company’s instructions weren’t meant for guys like me with three left hands and fifteen thumbs. Five minutes? It took me four days just to work up some courage to give it a shot.

So there I sat reading the instructions and getting my equipment lined up: the digital transport adapter, a 3-foot coaxial cable, a power cord, a remote control signal receiver, adhesive fasteners and a new remote control.

I sensed that my wife was watching me from above which only put more pressure on me. She would always sit in the orchestra section to watch her husband, the klutz, attempt the impossible. I guess I was a bit nervous thinking that she was watching me and almost strangled myself with the coaxial cable. I could swear I heard a harp laughing. My wife would now have one new anecdote about my manual dexterity to share with her heavenly friends.

So I huffed and I puffed and began plugging wires and cables into what I thought were the appropriate outlets. When I thought I was done I tried turning the TV set on. Nothing except a stifled giggle from way above. I looked to the heavens and asked my wife to show herself. Nothing. Back to the drawing board.

I restudied the instructions and realized that one of the cables should have been connected to the “in” plug and not the TV plug and went at it again. I clicked on the TV set again assuming that all was well. Nothing. My wife cleared her throat.

“Can I suggest something?” she asked.

“Dear, I’ve almost got it. What is it?” I responded haughtily.

She suggested that I connect the power cord from the digital device into the electrical outlet. I did so and when I turned on the TV set again I got a fine looking picture. I was feeling proud of myself when my wife told me that I had removed the refrigerator power cord from the outlet and plugged in the TV. I asked her if she had something else to do up in the clouds, like create fire.

I rebooted the fridge and found a free outlet for the TV. My wife broke into sarcastic applause and told me that she was very proud of me. I actually did it all by myself – with one final suggestion on her part, of course – without having had to call India for technical assistance.

I now get all the TV channels that we couldn’t get when the universal TV system went from analog to digital. So I’m on a roll and am now confident that I can set the alarm button on my travel alarm clock without any assistance whatsoever. It’s perfectly clear to me that when I decide to puff out my chest even more and fix the wiring on my washer that my wife will miraculously appear again to heckle me. Well at least she’s still with me.