Living in the Lap of Product Testing

Posted: May 1st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Husbandry | No Comments »

Last night Mark came home from work and said, “I got a new car.” I looked out the window to see an $80,000 BMW SUV.

No, this isn’t where I wake up and realize that JR getting shot was all just a dream. It really happened! What’s more, when I was all excited and said I wanted to go for a ride he said, “Okay, but I need to take the TV out of the back of it first.”

The TV being a 42″ schmancy plasma flat-screen HD-type one. No joke!

Oh yeah, that’s how we roll around here at the McCluskys. A magazine editor and a stay-at-home mom just wallowing in the lap of luxury. At least until Mark has to return everything. Truth is, it’s all stuff he’s testing for the magazine.

In fact, the first TV Mark ever brought home to test offended my sense of decency. The thing was gargantuan, and when I sat on the couch in our modest-sized living room I felt like I had to brace myself and lean my head way back when it was on. It was like being in the front row at the movies, but times ten. I swear there was G-force coming off the thing.

Mark, of course, loved it. Thought that after struggling along with our old TV, this was the perfect size. “Perfect,” I said, “if we were sitting in Brooke’s house across the street and watching it through the picture window.”

That TV lived with us for several weeks, along with a handful of others that we’ve taken in like foster children since. I complained about it ruthlessly and was embarrassed whenever anyone walked in the door. I’d explain to them immediately why 40% of our living room was taken over by a piece of electronics so immense we were probably all being sterilized by merely being in its presence.

In the time the TV was with us the Olympics came and went. We watched a bunch of movies and several episodes of The Sopranos. We watched Food Network shows and with the HD fired up felt like we could see micro-organisms living on the food.

I continued to berate its existence, but then one day without warning Mark wrangled a huge box up the stairs from the basement and started to unplug myriad wires and cords. The TV was getting ready to leave us, and in its place Mark got out our TV where it was collecting dust by the washing machine.

He plunked it down on the TV stand and it looked like a postage stamp. The thing was dinky and pathetic. Even once the grime was cleaned off and the shades were drawn, the curved screen reflected light and shadows and seemed clouded and blurry. It looked utterly antique. We might as well have gathered around a radio to tune into The Shadow.

I was crestfallen.

Of course, I couldn’t admit it to Mark. I weakly offered up, “Now that’s more like it!” but afterwards ran to throw myself on the bed with tears in my eyes. How could we live this way?

Since then I’ve learned not to look a gift horse in the mouth. I’ve started to welcome the high-end cameras, the cherry red front-loading washing machines, the state-of-the-art vacuum cleaners, and the garbage can you don’t even need to step on to open–it just knows when you want to throw something away.

Our friends are used to seeing different gadgets gracing our home each time they come by. My favorite joke is that Kate isn’t really ours. She’s a toddler Mark’s testing, and despite how much we’ve come to love her we’ll eventually have to send her back.

It’s an ever-changing world we’re living in. Technology is evolving at a break-neck pace, and in the words of an astute German super model, “One day you’re in, and the next you’re out.”

I used to try to resist the change; to rebuff the progress. But eventually I came around. Now I actually delight in whatever it is that Mark strains to carry up the front stairs every evening.

We’re living in the lap of luxury here at the McCluskys. At least until it all has to be returned.

No Comments »

Leave a Reply