Jewish World Review Nov. 18, 2003 / 23 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Danger: TVs falling from above8 | One of my pet peeves with the media is that they often omit important details from their reports.

A recent Associated Press story from Potsdam, Germany, is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

According to the extremely brief account, a 25-year-old woman got so fed up with another Saturday night of boring television programs that she snatched up her TV and hurled it out of her fifth-floor apartment window.

"There was nothing decent on so I just threw the thing out the window," said the woman, who identified herself only as "Veronika K."

No one was injured by the falling TV and, according to the report, Veronika K. calmed down a bit later and watched another television with her children.

With nothing more to go on, we are forced to fill in the details of the evening's adventures on our own.

For starters, we must assume that Veronika K.'s TV was hooked up to a satellite dish that pulled in predominantly American programming because it's unlikely that German fare would be sufficiently irritating to provoke such an impetuous and violent act. ("Deutschland sucht den Superstar," the German equivalent of "American Idol," would be the obvious exception.)

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There is no telling what finally pushed Veronika K. over the edge. Perhaps she watched "Beat the Geeks" and found, to her dismay, that she could. Perhaps she watched a show on the Discovery Health channel called "Bellies and Bums" only to learn that hers failed to meet specifications in several important areas. Or maybe it was something Tim Russert said that caused her to become unhinged. Stranger things have happened.

Another thing we must surmise is that Veronika K. is either an extremely strong woman or else she was watching an extremely small TV. Most Americans wouldn't be caught dead with a TV that weighs less than a piano and indeed most TVs are part of a complex "home entertainment center" that includes a VCR, a CD player, a DVD player, amplifiers, cable boxes, one or more video game consoles and separate speakers including sub-woofers the size of major appliances that ensure that your neighbors will be able to enjoy all the explosions in "Terminator 3" from a distance of several miles.

By the time your typical American viewer unhooked the spaghetti of wires and cables leading to and from his TV, he would be far too exhausted to heave the thing out the window, assuming he had the strength to lift it in the first place, which is doubtful since his exercise regime consists mostly of swilling beer and snorking corn doodles while watching "Monday Night Football" in his underwear.

(It should be noted at this point that there are certain Americans who think it is worth the effort to pitch a TV out of an upper-story window. Those certain Americans are called "college students" and I know for a fact that this sort of thing happens because I once helped push a grainy, black-and-white Zenith out of a third-floor window at my dorm at the University of Maryland. For the record, the TV made

an impressive splintering crash but did not bounce as high as we had hoped.)

So we will never really know what drove Veronika K. to pitch her TV out the window.

But the fact that she calmed down and later watched even more dull, boring programming with her children on another TV suggests to me that hers was a random act of violence/civil disobedience that will most likely not be repeated, especially since her second TV is probably the only one left in the house.

I just hope her satellite dish didn't go down with it because I hear "Deutschland sucht den Superstar" is really, really lame.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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