Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I envy Mary Richards

I have been watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show on Me-TV, and I must confess: I envy Mary Richards. Not her hair. Nor her cozy little part-of-a-house apartment. Nor her architectural-salvage M.

I envy Mary Richards the simplicity of her technology. The sum total: A table-top telephone. A Sony portable television, reception adjusted by built-in antenna. A Sony stereo system: a receiver/radio/turntable unit and two small speakers. A portable manual typewriter.

Mary never had to figure out how to get an old-phone ringtone into a cell phone. Her ring came with the phone, loud and clear. Mary never had to reprogram her television after getting a new cable box. She watched what was already “on” and reprogrammed by changing the channel. Mary did not have to buy a ground loop isolator to fix a problem with a humming turntable, only to find that the device failed to fix the problem. Her turntable was grounded. Mary did not to have to uninstall the software package that came with her HP printer and download a simpler and better package from Apple. She used Wite-Out.

Of course, Mary never made it past 1977.

Jokes for Murray Slaughter to insert in the above paragraphs:

“Cell phone? Sounds like something you’d use in prison.”

“Cable box? Sounds like what Marie uses for storing sweaters.”

“A humming turntable? Doesn’t it know the words?”

“Download? Sounds like what Lou’s gonna do to Ted in about five minutes.”
[I had just about the same stereo as a teenager. The simplest way to remove a turntable hum might be to get an extension cord and run all components to the same outlet. And Elaine got it out of me: I do kinda envy Mary her apartment.]

comments: 2

jw said...

I recently watched Hopscotch (1980, dir. Neame) with Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson, and Sam Waterson. Matthau spends much of the movie gleefully running from Ned Beatty, carrying only his suitcase and a portable typewriter. When he wants to listen to music, he puts on an LP and listens to the whole thing. There is something comfortingly uncomplex about their (Matthau and Moore's characters) relationship with technology.

On the other hand, if we were using only typewriters and listening to LPs, I wouldn't be able to make this comment, nor is it likely I would have discovered the VDP and Inara George album, "An Invitation" which would have made my life so much the poorer.

Michael Leddy said...

I don’t want to be stuck in 1977 either. We just seem to be having all sorts of technology problems at once, and that’s what made me envy Mary.

I’m happy to know you like An Invitation. It’s become one of my favorite albums. I’m adding that movie (which I know I’ve heard of) to my Netflix. Thanks for the tip.