I wrote this post a few years ago although I didn’t publish it at the time. Today, I find the message to be as relevant as ever…
My DVD player went kaput the other night. I swear I heard it sigh twice before it succumbed. Unfortunately, it had swallowed a Netflix DVD, Secretariat. I was forced to resort first to tweezers and when that didn’t work, I used a can opener to pry it open.
The next day, I went up to Wal Mart and reviewed their inventory of DVD players. I chose a Sony DVD player with Blu-ray Disc capacity. An upgrade, I thought, pleased with my choice. I even brought the two-year warranty plan. I got home that night, too tired to set it up.
A friend told me “it’s easy.”
So the next evening, I decided to get it up and running before bed. I unplugged all the cords from the old DVD player. I read the instruction manual from front to back.
I realized that the HDMI cable wasn’t included in the deal. I also noticed that some of the hook-ups looked different than what was on the older model. There weren’t the same jacks and outlets and inlets and all of that. I don’t have Cable TV and wondered if that was a requirement. I plugged in the DVD player after I made one connection…but it wasn’t actually connected to the TV. I decided it could wait until the next day.
I went down to the local Radio Shack with both of the manuals–for the Sony Blu-Ray Disc DVD Player and for my SANYO LCD TV. I was told that these two pieces of equipment were incompatible and furthermore, they no longer made the same type of connectors as are on my less-than-five-year-old TV. In other words, I wouldn’t be able to find a DVD player that would be compatible with my LCD TV. What a disappointment!
“It’s old,” he said plainly.
“Not that old,” I replied.
I was told that I could bring my old DVD player to the transfer station and that there is no charge.
He said “Sometimes, they charge to dispose of them as there are lethal components.
I said “I can only hope that they find a way to recycle some of these parts. Otherwise, what a toxic heap we’re making.”
I thought, built-in obsolescence.
Where is all of this technology, the technology with the lethal components going to end up? In a heap and choking our environment? What the heck is going on?
Maybe I’ll return the DVD player. Maybe I won’t get a TV. Maybe (before Covid) I’ll just invite some friends over and chat around a cozy fire. I could start a knitting circle where we sit and share our stories. I might make ice-cream the old-fashioned way. Take up weaving, spinning wool. TV, after all, can make us anti-social and lazy.
All of that said, with the advent of the virus in 2020, we’ve become more dependent on technology to stay connected. The good and the not-so-good of things.