Simon Wood

Hump Day: Now Or Never (or Now And Then)

Or this could be titled: no one listed to Kevin McCarthy, so why should they listen to me? If you’ve ever seen the end of the original INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, you’ll understand. The alien body snatchers are taking over the world and our man McCarthy is trying to warn a world that doesn’t care.

I feel like Kev McCarthy. The end is coming and I’m the only one who sees it. I feel I’m losing myself–not to aliens from a dying planet, but to an insidious electronic invention of human design. People are unaware of the evil they’re bringing into their homes. I bet you’ve got one already, maybe two. This infection has been eating away at you and you didn’t even notice. I bet you tell your friends how much you love this technological advancement and how they should they should get one too–you don’t even realize you’re spreading the infection with your deluded lies.

Have you guessed what it is yet? No? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s the Digital Video Recorder or DVR.

No, no, no, listen to me. Stop laughing. This isn’t crazy talk. Listen to my experiences with DVR and tell me you haven’t exhibited the same symptoms.

My cable provider started it. They offered me a deal on DVR to compete with TiVo. Free installation. Low monthly subscription. It sounded like a great idea. I wanted the ability to pause live television and even rewind it. I wanted to record multiple shows and fast-forward through the ads. I let their technicians enter my home and implant the disease in my living room.

At first I didn’t notice anything different. I set up my recording schedule and watched the programs pile up in my library. I loved all the features. I especially loved the time it saved me. It was time I could spend doing other things. A one-hour show, in reality, runs just over 40 minutes without ads. Ah reality. I use that word, but I don’t know what it means anymore. I remember being told once that a sign of insanity is the inability to tell one second from one hour. I can’t anymore. How can I, when an hour is only forty minutes and those forty minutes can be experienced now, then or later? When I sit down and watch TV, what am I watching–the past or the present? I have become too accustomed to hitting fast-forward or rewind. I sit down to shows in progress and can watch them from the start. I get a kick out of watching the time clock showing me catching up with now.

This may sound like the ravings of the insane and maybe they are as the things I’ve told you are only the beginning. While watching live television I have tried to fast-forward beyond the present, forgetting that I’m in the now.

So far, I’ve kept my confusion to the TV world, but I have urges to apply this to the real world. When I’m stuck in the middle of a boring conversation, I want to hit delete or fast-forward to the end. I want some moments to never end and I wish the remote would pause the world for me so that I can live the moment forever. This is crazy of course, but when I stop believing it’s crazy, I’ll know it is too late for me. I fear I’ve lost Julie already. She’s locked away in her DVR world and only leaves it to contaminate others with her misguided lies.

I know some of you have experienced the same happenings. So while there is still a piece of me left, I beg of you to throw out your DVRs before they destroy you like they have destroyed me. It really is now or never…or is it then or never…

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