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Waiting For the Cable Guy

rabbit ears.jpg

I can't go to work until the cable guy comes over, which could be any minute or much later. The only guarantee is that he will ask me questions I can't answer. The entire arrangement of the house, the very identities of rooms, will pivot on where I want him to install "the splitter." Such pressure!

I'm considering bundling my service, so that from a single vendor I obtain cable TV, broadband Internet, DVR capability, land-line telephones, microwave service, refrigeration, toaster functionality, leaf raking, Christmas tree ornamentation and psychotherapy. It's crazy to write a separate check for each of those things when Comcast or Starpower will bundle them in a single bill.

But of course there are so many options. The cable company is going to demand that I sort through myriad possible combinations of services, picking out which premium channels I do or don't want, and so on. I don't actually want any options. I want The Standard Package. I want my technology to come in Medium Size. I want The Usual. I want the opposite of Edgy. You reach a certain age and you feel the enormous gravitational tug of the center, the middle, the default position. Novelty is slightly nerve-wracking. If you catch me trying something new, run a blood test.

Admit it, this has become a debilitatingly option-crazed society. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Freedom's just another word for nothing left to choose.

I know the visit by the cable guy will be wrenching and humiliating, a reminder of my Late Adopter status. Technologically I've been skittish ever since they introduced the abacus. Seriously, there's a little part of my brain that STILL thinks of ball-point pens as innovative.

Yesterday I moved an old TV out to the garage and went looking for some rabbit ears to help it get reception in the remaining months of analog broadcast. Surely we still have some rabbit ears somewhere. Can you order them online, or would that be just too ironic?

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 10, 2007; 8:09 AM ET
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