Even in the midst of economic calamity, Americans have it pretty damn good. Still, we love to complain about the horrible assaults on our codified right to revel in the pursuit of happiness. Comedian Louis C.K. captures this perspective brilliantly in his “everything is amazing” bit.
I’ll admit — I’m no different. Hell, I’m from Boston. Even when things are great here, we’ll gripe about something. It’s amazing this city has achieved so much with Eeyore as our mascot.
But knowing Mtuseni has altered my perspective on what is important in life, and what constitutes hardship in my relatively gilded existence.
My latest frustration is with Comcast. I don’t watch much TV. I have the most basic cable package. I’d probably still use rabbit ears if it was technologically feasible. But the company has “migrated” to all digital programming, and I was forced to get a contraption to receive my piddly six channels. First I was told to get a free little DTA box, but after hooking it up, it wouldn’t work with my HDTV. So I returned the DTA and got the HD converter box, with a remote that could steer the space shuttle to Alpha Centauri. And it will cost an extra three bucks a month. The thing worked great… for two days. Now I have no signal at all. So it’s back to Comcast for another box.
Arrrggghhhh! The insanity. The incompetence. The inconvenience. It’s an outrage!
Then I remember… Mtuseni has no television. Because his community has no electricity. He steals moments of TV watching here and there, when electricity and a set are available. And it certainly isn’t HD with surround sound. When we traveled this winter, he was thrilled to have unbridled access to TV in our hotel rooms. The drone of soccer and cricket games only induced sleep for me, but the South African soapie Rhythm City was laughably cheesy and quickly addictive.
So, yes, my cable service is giving me problems. But it will be resolved this week. In the meantime, my media student son… and his family and entire community… have no access to the news, information and entertainment offered by television. When it gets dark, they will read by kerosene lantern or candlelight, or go to sleep.
Not being able to watch The Voice tonight in HD doesn’t seem so bad now.
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