MY WIFE, THE LOVELY AND INSPIRING Dawn, and I have been doing a lot of “Binge Watching” lately. We have viewed our way through the entire “Breaking Bad” series, “House of Cards,” “White Collar,” “True Detective,” and a few others.
It may be entertaining, but it’s not a way to encounter much worth thinking about later.
I WAS WATCHING THE TODAY SHOW the other morning and I saw a most interesting story (Which is odd for the Today Show. Most of the time they present fluff, interspersed with even lighter fluff.) They did a short piece about the new big screen TVs that are now on the market.
It seems that while we are watching them – they are watching us.
They showed a new Samsung television as their example. The TV has a camera and microphone that enables it to take both visual and verbal commands. The catch is, that as it listens and it watches, it is recording as well and, according to the technical info on the TV says, that this recorded info will be transmitted to a third party.
If that’s a party I wasn’t invited.
THIS PAST JUNE we had the opportunity to spend a week in Omaha. While there we found ourselves caught up in one heck of a fight on a Saturday night. It was a bigger deal than I had anticipated and noisier than I could comfortably tolerate.
It was a World Championship Title fight for the Lightweight crown and it took place at the Century Link Center, just across the street from where we were staying at the Hilton hotel.
I should have become suspicious when the Baseball College World Series crowd moved out on Saturday morning and several hundred trainers, boxers, fans and hangers-on from all over the western hemisphere moved into the hotel. I haven’t seen that much scar tissue since I performed at a California biker bar in the mid 1980s.
There was a knock on the door one day last week. It was a uniformed young man from the Cable Company. His van was parked at the curb with a very large ladder strapped to the top.
The fellow politely introduced himself and stated that there had been a report of a, “Significant Signal Leakage,” reported at our address and he had been sent to investigate and correct the problem. The big ladder was so he could check the connections on the pole along the backyard fence.
He didn’t look like he was about to pull off a home invasion or an attempt to steal my 2002 Hyundai, so my response was, to paraphrase, “Whatever.”
He extended his ladder up against the pole by the fence and scampered up. I saw several squirrels eyeing him enviously. He spent a good twenty minutes putzing around up there, knocking out our cable connection in the process. I was going to miss the Jeopardy! rerun. Life goes on. I should feel blessed – after all, there are people in Bulgaria who never get to see Jeopardy!
When he finished up in the backyard he moved his ladder over to the side of the house to check on the connection at that end. He seemed to be determined to stop that “Significant Signal Leakage” before it became a deluge.
Eventually he seemed satisfied, packed up his ladder, climbed back into his van and drove away. He gave us no reassurance that he had fixed the problem or that we were in no imminent danger. The TV came back on, but Jeopardy! was long gone. I’ll get over it.
Shift the scene to the next morning. I am sitting in the Chapel at St. Arbucks having my coffee when one of the Usual Suspects enters and comes over near me. This young fellow, with a Significant Southern Accent Leakage, works for the Cable Company. I told him about his co-worker’s visit of the day before and I asked him, “What does ‘Significant Signal Leakage’ mean?”
He laughed so hard I thought he was going to drop both his coffee and his accent.
“My friend,” he said, “It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a high tech sounding phrase we use when we don’t want to bother explaining what the real problem is. From what you told me it sounds like we just had a loose connection somewhere. ‘Significant Signal Leakage’ – I just love those jokers.”
It is a good sounding phrase – “Significant Signal Leakage.” I may start using it myself. When I feel the need to return an undercooked steak I can claim that it has “Significant Signal Leakage.” When my doctor asks me how I’m feeling I can respond with, “I think I have Significant Signal Leakage.”At St. Arbucks when the barista asks me, “How are you this morning?” I can say, “I have ‘Significant Signal Leakage,’ please add an extra shot of espresso.”
Feel free to use this phrase if you wish. I don’t have it copyright protected or anything. I doubt that the Cable Company has either.