Last night I sat back with my new digital TV remote control and steered it towards a movie I had been wanting to watch for quite some time: the 1998 remake of “The Thin Red Line”. About two and a half hours into this deeply unsettling World War II epic, the digital image on my television screen suddenly fragmented as if it were being beamed up by Scotty, pixel by pixel, to the bridge of the USS Enterprise. A couple of minutes later a “The movie you are watching will soon be available. Please be PATIENT!” error message appeared on the screen.
For twenty minutes I was patient beyond belief, but my composure eventually expired, giving way to a rush of aggravation. I called my cable company and tapped my way through several “press 2” and “press 3” phone messages, eventually ending up at an option seemingly tailored to my predicament: “If you are temporarily experiencing a lack of picture on one or more stations, please press “3” now.”
Pressing 3, I was instructed to place my television set on channel 3 and wait for fifteen seconds while my digital cable box was electronically “re-authorized”. Sure enough, after fifteen seconds “The Thin Red Line” was beamed back into my television set, just in time to watch the credits begin their slow roll across the screen.
Dismayed that I had remained patient right through to the end of the movie, rather than being just plain angry, I called my cable provider again and kept punching “O” until a human voice warily answered my call. As I began explaining what had happened and raved about the futility of remaining patient and whythehell didn’t you instruct me to call and try the channel 3 thing before I grew tired of being patient, I realized I was gripping the phone with enough force to crush a golf ball. “Oh, never mind,” I shouted. I hung up the telephone.
Futility is so –futile.
(originally published and copyrighted© 1998-2010 by Simply Tim in the Recipe du Jour news letter.)