Zenith SM3287BT: June 3, 1995 to October 18, 2012

On June 3, 1995, I walked out of Rosa and Sullivan $875 poorer and one Zenith 32" television heavier. I moved it from my apartment on Burkhard to my house now, and it's been around for everything from MST3K nights to screenings of Battleship Potemkin. I bought it a digital TV tuner in 2009 so it could still display off-air TV, although I haven't watched in a while. It's been at least a couple years since the red gun would come on when I turned it on — these days I have to let it warm up and cycle the power before I can watch movies in anything but dingy cyan.

But tonight, 17 years, 4 months, and 15 days later, I turned it on for the last time. Zenith Model SM3287BT, Serial Number 581-35141883, you will be missed.

I was going to watch Paris, Texas so I turned on the power strip and hit the on-off button. The degaussing coil kicked on, and then it made a hideous — quite loud — electrical crackling noise. I stepped back in surprise and the crackling continued. I inched forward and shut off the power strip. I gave it a tenuous second try but it would do nothing.

Needless to say, I found this to be the funniest thing that has happened all week. Finally: television surprised me.

I think my cat thinks I'm crazy.