You can’t pause and rewind life

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If I had any doubt at all that modern life has made me soft and slack, all it took was my love affair with our DVR (Digital Video Recorder) to convince me that it is so.

I’ll be thoroughly modern and immediately claim that this is not really my fault. Had I been born in earlier, heartier times I would be a completely different person. Possibly self-sufficient — or dead. Could go either way.

Totally spoiled

Instead, I am spoiled and indulged and prefer things to be sunny and come easy to me. I want the good times to be forever and the bad times to last mere nanoseconds. It is only lately that I have come to the realization that the DVR has ruined me.

The DVR is, of course, my beloved Digital Video Recorder for our television set. It works somewhat like an old VCR in that it records and saves programs from the television for us to watch and enjoy at our leisure.

A DVR differs from a VCR in that a DVR, unlike a VCR, won’t flash “12:00” at you for the entire time you own it. The real siren song of the DVR is that you can pause live TV!

Won’t miss it

You have to be a slacker like me to really appreciate how incredibly awesome this featre really is! Right at the very precise moment the killer is revealed and your edge-of-the-seat concentration is foiled by “mo-om, do I hafta brush my teeth!” you can pause (or even rewind) and come back later to figure out “whodunit” at your own pace.

No more will you forever be left to the wonder if the killer was, or was not, the crooked detective’s two-timing mistress.

Watching the big game and the quarterback does whatever it is that quarterbacks do that get people all excited at the precise moment the pizza delivery appears at the door? No problem. Hit pause and return to the play with pepperoni firmly in hand.

Find that show

Tired of playing hide and seek with the network’s placement of your favorite program? It’s on Wednesday at 8; no, Thursdays at nine; wait, alternate Tuesdays at 10 pm! It’s no wonder all the good shows are canceled due to low ratings. None of the viewers can find them.

Forget all that. Just decide what it is you enjoy, tell the box to record all new episodes of such things, and wander off secure in the knowledge that the things you enjoy will be safely captured.
Of course, unlike a VCR, because a DVR records to a hard drive not unlike a computer and can list programs in any order, you will never thrill to the risk inherent in “videotape roulette.”

Where’s my show?

You know the old “is this tape blank, or isn’t it?” If you shared a VCR with other family members I’m sure that somewhere in your dark past lurks at least one meltdown over “I cannot believe you taped over the entire last season of Cosby!

Or, worse, “our wedding!”

Yes, my friends, like so many wonderful, modern things that I first pronounced “stupid” (cell phones, Internet in the home, box wine) I have become a DVR convert. I can’t imagine life without the ability to pause, rewind, and forward live TV.

The ability to say “I can’t watch that now but, really, later, I’ll get right on it.” I love knowing that all the entertaining little moments I might miss are waiting there for me to click and watch — and experience — at my leisure. Such power. Such control.

Such a lie.

I’ve begun to suspect that like so much in life, too much of a good, convenient, and fun thing might be terrible, too.

Fast forwarding

While I know that life is not really like TV, I know that it is all too easy to get in the habit of “fast-forwarding” through life as if it is. Of letting the DVR mentality take hold.

Of letting moments, minutes, hours and days roll by in a blur, secure in the theory that we can always pause for “the good parts.” We miss wonderful episodes in our own lives while we make a quick mental note to experience them “later.”

Here’s a real-time newsflash: “later” is “now.” The wonderful episodes are happening around us.

You can’t rewind to catch what you missed the first time. There is no pause button on life. There is, however, a fast-forward.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt loves her DVR, but not her clock. She welcomes comments c/o lifeoutloud@comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://kymberly.typepad.com/life.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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