As Thanksgiving approaches, the television and newspaper ads tout the “Black Friday” sales. For me, Black Friday brings a sense of dread. Who would want to venture out to the malls and the stores to do battle with vicious, cold-blooded, bargain hunters? I would rather eat shellfish.
One year, though, I did venture out at 5 am on a Black Friday. It was about a week before Thanksgiving when Willa was about four years old. Our television was not working well. I can’t recall the exact nature of the problem. It was some annoying outage of audio or video that occurred with increasing frequency.
Being male, I figured the best thing would be to fix it myself. This always seems like the best option. I work pretty cheap. On this occasion, I earned my pay.
Shelly was not home the day I set about “repairing” the television. I gathered my seldom-used tools in the living room and tilted the television onto its screen. I removed the back of the television. At this point, Willa became utterly engrossed in the proceedings.
I took everything that I could out of that TV. Unable to diagnose the issue, I put everything back. I thought I had systematically taken it apart and replaced just as it had been before. Of course, the television didn’t work, not even a little. It wouldn’t even work in the annoying fashion it had worked before.
So we took it all apart again. And we tried to put it together again. About midway through our third rebuilding effort, my lovely wife walked through the door. Television parts were strewn all over the front room. Willa, who was aflame with enthusiasm for our project, ran to the door, “Mommy! We took the TV apart!”
“I see,” my wife replied with an expressionless face. Only her eyes gave away the disappointment she felt as she realized her misfortune.
My assistant and I never were able to make the television work. My wife didn’t say much about the episode beyond the sporadic “Why did you take the television apart?” until a few days before Thanksgiving. As I nestled into bed one evening, she rolled onto her side. Her elbow supporting her head, she said pointedly, “You know you’re going to get me a television Friday morning don’t you?”
“Right,” I replied with an expressionless face.