Mysteries of Life: A bad TV-good TV tale

A few weeks ago my TV did a dud.

I refused to believe it, given that the little red light curled up in the corner was still on. Of course, “on” means the TV is “off” and I have accepted this as electronic reality, a/k/a vampirism. But I did not accept there was anything wrong with the TV. The cable box was on and the TV, around 6 years old, has been unswervingly terrific.

So, after an extended period of pressing every button on two remotes in a variety of rhythms and combinations, I did the modern equivalent of kicking the thing — although maybe I shouldn’t evoke that image since when I was a kid my mom actually did kick in the TV. (Her three children were getting up from the kitchen dinner table to peek around the corner because something marvelous was on TV, and she erupted.) The TV went to the shop and we went TV-less for a week.

The modern equivalent of kicking the TV: unplugging it and the cable box, letting everything sit for five minutes and plugging everything back in again.

I did it several times. It didn’t work. I called Samsung. Samsung said, “Your TV is broken.” I responded, “I don’t believe that.” Samsung responded, “There’s nothing more we can do for you.” Except they gave me the name of an accredited local Samsung repair person.

Who didn’t answer his phone.

So…Google! And at around 10 on a Friday night, I found Randolph Kyte. Who said he could come to my place between 12-2 on Saturday, the next day, for a service charge of $40.

He came exactly when he said he would, he saw, he unplugged my TV, he undid the back, all sorts of things lit up, I said, “Oh look lights! This is good!” and he said, No, actually, it meant a key element had gone dead.

Uh-oh. He said he’d take the TV to his shop where he might have that part and if so he could fix it immediately and bring it back the next day, Sunday, or at worst, if he didn’t have the part, he’d get one and bring the TV back on Monday. I agreed and started making plans to figure out how to watch the football playoffs on my computer screen over the whole weekend.

That was on Saturday at around 2 pm.

Still on Saturday — the same day — at around 4 pm Randolph called me. He had the part, had replaced it in my TV. He asked if I’d like him to bring it back then. On Saturday. Or if that didn’t work for me, he could bring it back on Sunday.

I was speechless for a couple of moments. “Today?” I said. “I mean — now?”

Yep, that’s what he meant.

And so it happened. Early evening on Saturday, Randolph Kyte brought back my TV. He plugged it in, turned it on and, yup, it worked.

I paid him in cash — he doesn’t take credit cards. His charge was $265.

You might say, well, Naomi, you could’ve bought a new one for less. What a fool you were! And I might say to you, no. I don’t believe in tossing good things when they can be repaired.

Were you waiting for a bad end to this story?

There isn’t one. There’s just my recommendation for Randolph Kyte, R.K. and Son Television Repair Center in Queens, License# 1500820. Phone 347-305-2351 or 516-309-9442.

Although if your TV has broken down in, oh, I dunno, South Carolina…


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