It all started with an innocent conversation.

My wife and I came off a five day vacation on the coast, where we spent the week on the beach or reading on the screen porch of a house we had rented from some friends of ours. Upon our return, I commented to a co-worker that one of the reasons that we have been given to return to work was that there is absolutely nothing of value on television during the day. I mentioned that even PBS was filled with school programming. This started a conversation about high-definition television, which my co-workier is a huge fan of. He expounded on the virtues of the picture and sound quality and told me that I HAD to get an HDTV. I informed him that my fifteen year old Sony worked perfectly well and I couldn't see my way clear to spending money on something when I had one that worked fine. Little did I realize that I was about to experience the full force and irony of foreshadowing.

The next weekend, my television died.

So now my wife and I have a problem. We have to replace our TV. We go to the local electronics ubermart and wander through the television section, beating back the vultures as we try and make a semi-informed decision about buying a set. It seems that since the last time I let myself off my self-imposed chain that keeps me out of these stores, that technology has really gone off the charts. There is not only HDTV but also flat panel, flat screens, and televisions that are so big that they have their own representation in Congress.

We debated and talked and researched and talked and debated and watched about as much of a Sheryl Crow video as one man should be made to in one lifetime, while we tried to decided how much we wanted to spend and what features we wanted. I come from a very deliberate family and we don't rush into things. Risk takers we are not and my wife runs along the same line, so we are cautious to the point of being paralyzed. And we would probably be still in the same boat if it were not for my boss.

A couple of weeks ago, I passed the milestone of being an employee of this firm for seven years. As a gift for my seventh anniversary, my boss offered to foot the bill for a new TV. A wonderful gesture on his part and it bought him and the company a great deal of good will. We discussed what he was talking about when he said that, and he put the kabosh on a flat panel, but was perfectly willing to buy an HDTV.

So, yesterday, we bought a TV. Actually let me rephrase that: yesterday, we bought a 218 pound monstrosity that is sitting in my living room. It is a 32 inch Sony with HDTV capability and about enough features to fly the Space Shuttle. I think my wife is in shock and I know at least one of our cats got frightened by the sheer size of the image. I am secretly very pleased with the purchase knowing that I will be able to watch Farscape tonight in what will feel like life size, but I have to keep up the penitent act until my family adjusts.

Ah, technology! Ain't it wonderful?