I’m not saying this because I’m old. I’m saying this because it’s true. What’s new isn’t always what’s best. When I’m feeling nauseous, I’d prefer a doctor’s home visit rather than sit clutching my sides in her office. She imagines care is more efficient when I visit her. What matters to me is that I’m close to a toilet.
I admit I’m wary of change. The charm of cable television remains a mystery to me. Why pay for vapid programs similar to those the networks provide free? It isn’t as if cable allowed me to escape nagging commercials.
To be honest, I rely on DVDs for entertainment. Disks allow me to escape ads. Bliss is knowing L’Oreal can’t interrupt with a nag about dry skin the moment Hercule Poirot exclaims he knows who dropped Aunt Minnie’s body in the library.
Originally, Netflix provided both streaming and DVDs for a single subscription. Then they devised a more lucrative business model and severed the two as deftly as a sushi chef separates a trout from its bones.
Raku allows me to stream videos for no cost. but discs are simpler. Frankly, Raku’s streaming system leaves me feeling like Alice as she fell down the rabbit hole—confused. I don’t imagine I’m alone. If I were, there’d be no need for smart televisions. Smart sets don’t have remotes. They operate by voice command. (“TV Viewing War Heats Up Again,” by Chris Morris, AARP Bulletin, May 2021, pg. 37.)
Ordering entertainment from a menu like food sounds simple but I am dubious. How much does it cost? Who sets up the system? What if I drop one streaming channel for another? Or, if there’s a power outage?
Over the years, working with a desktop computer has taught me to have as much faith in electronic devices as I do that the plumber will arrive to unclog my kitchen sink as scheduled. I have no such faith. That’s why, rather than be disappointed, I keep my electronics simple. To watch a movie, I slip a disk into a slot and hit the “play” button.
The trend is against me, I realize. Netflix dominated the streaming world for a time. Now they have several competitors. Having a choice is good, but it is also a temptation. Glistening like bonbons lined up in a chocolate box, those options come with a price. Sample too many and a person’s home entertainment fees rocket past the weekly food budget.
One economy exists. Locast.org is a free streaming service. But, AARP writer Chris Morris warns, “…you get harangued with on-screen solicitations to donate.” “Free” has a price, after all. I’d rather pay to attend a swap picnic at the height of mosquito season.
Because I am old, I know life is short and best lived simply, like a Buddhist monk who requires only a bowl and a spoon. If pressed for entertainment, all I need is a good book with pages I can turn.