Saturday, December 25, 2010

Epic Fail (The TV Story)

Do you know what the definition of "epic fail" is?

Once, I had a TV that I never used. It was big, heavy, and it took up a lot of room in a tiny apartment. I wanted to be rid of it, but mostly I didn't want to carry it down five flights of stairs. I finally decided to put it on Craigslist for free. Here's the full ad:
Yes, this advertisement is for an honest to God free television set. There are pictures below. The screen is 26" diagonal. The TV is 24" wide, 19" deep, and 22" tall, weighing in at about 60lbs. Here are some questions you may have:

Q1. Does the TV work?
A1. Yes, as does the remote that comes with it. (Two AAA batteries included! It's just like Christmas!)

Q2. It looks old.
A2. First off, this isn't a proper question, but I applaud your powers of observation. Yes, the TV is an older model - it only has a coaxial hook up in the back, as shown in the picture. If you want to hook something up to it, you probably need an adapter of some sort. I repeat, THE TV ONLY HAS A COAXIAL CABLE HOOK UP ON THE BACK. It's also probably not compatible with the evil magic or whatever the government recently did to the cable that made older TVs not work and scared everyone's grandparents.

Q3. Why are you getting rid of it?
A3. Because I have no use for it - I don't have cable, a DVD player, or any game consoles.

Q4. Why does someone like you even have a TV then?
A4. Because my sister and her family own four TVs and they thought I was deprived because I didn't have one.

Q5. Why is it free?
A5. Did anyone ever tell you that thing about gift horses and their mouths? At any rate, it's free because I'm tired of it taking up space and I can't bring myself to throw something perfectly serviceable away. Also, I'm lazy, so having someone else get rid of it for me is appealing.

Here's how it works:

Send me an e-mail, one (just one - if you don't hear back, you didn't get it) that inspires the sort of trust and confidence I need to invite a stranger into my home. I'll pick one of you out and e-mail you back. When I do, I'll give you my exact address. I live in downtown, on the top floor of an old apartment building. There are four flights of stairs leading up here and the ceilings are sloped. To warn you ahead of time, I am not going to help you with the TV in any way. You show up here, I let you in, you grab the TV (if you want, I will plug it in to prove it works), and you carry it down to your vehicle. I may wave bye to it, but this is the limit of the physical effort I'm willing to exert. You will get the TV sometime between 9AM and 8PM, no exceptions for any reason.

This whole TV thing has been a major inconvenience for me and I'm ready for it to be over.

In closing, FREE TV! Woooo!
I got a ton of replies, which I sifted through in due time. I narrowed it down to three, and finally picked a guy named Dale. He wrote a funny message and had a name I recognized; sometimes fortune is arbitrary.

After a few e-mails, we decided he would come by at 10AM to get the TV. I walked to my apartment from work and met him at the front door. He had big forearms and a gut; a hairy chest puffing out of a denim work shirt; and the I'm-going-bald-might-as-well-shave-it haircut. All in all, he looked like a mechanic, or a plumber, or the guy who's doing the drywall at the new Denny's. We walked up to my apartment and I turned the TV on for him to prove it works.

Satisfied, he picked it up and carried it out with a little maneuvering. (It's a tiny apartment, after all.) He made it all the way down the first flight of stairs and dropped it.

I heard the carbon ray tube shatter, and for a moment there was  a noise like a vacuum cleaner. Dale looked up at me with wide eyes and said, without a trace of sarcasm, "That doesn't sound good." When he picked it up again we heard parts shifting around the inside. With hang dog eyes, he said, "Sorry for the noise. I'll go ahead and take it anyway." I said nothing, because nothing I said was going to help.

Life gave him a free TV and he fucking dropped it.

I closed my door and made it a few steps before I laughed so hard I cried.

I imagined him loading the TV into his gold Sienna minivan, not bothering to secure it; driving home with the TV rocking around in the back, the slight rattle of loose plastic like a papercut in his mind; opening the rear hatch, unceremoniously dropping the TV by the curb; going inside, opening a beer, and sitting in his recliner, staring at where he was going to put the TV.

I constructed an entire life for this poor son of a bitch.

When he was seven he wanted a red Schwinn, but his dad couldn't afford it. Instead, he got a blue "Squin" knock off with a front wheel that came flying off two months later.

When he was eighteen he finally got a date with the girl he had a crush on, but she got food poisoning from bad shrimp at the Surf 'n' Turf the night before prom. He had to go alone.

When he was twenty-five his friend had a sweet manager job at the factory lined up for him, but the company went bankrupt a week before he was going to start.

When he was thirty-six he was going to start his own mechanic's shop, but Mr. Goodwrench moved in a block away and took all his future customers.

And now, now he thought, "This is my day. I'm getting me a free TV! After all these years, fortune has finally favored Dale Percy."

Instead, he not only looked the gift horse in the mouth, he punched it there. He punched it there so hard. I'm pretty sure he's the real life version of Charlie Brown, and may God have mercy on his soul.

1 comment:

  1. This is victor (from India). You are a good writer! Keep it up! Thus one thing i have learned above all the things i have ever learned, "knowledge puffs up but love builds up". Good work bro! Keep it up!