I’m madder than an out-of-work television repairman with a gross of vacuum tubes in his basement over the fact that everywhere I turn I’m being told by somebody else to get rid of my beloved Zenith with Space Command Tuning in the living room and replace it with on of these newfangled “smart” televisions that supposedly do everything but show me “The 4:30 Movie” I’ve been craving since my last “Monster Week” back in 1981.
Look, you all know the ol’Screecher has been enjoying the benefits of my wall-mounted reel-to-reel stereophonic sound system that sits above my 27-inch cabinet and Betamax since the mid-1960s, and I have no plans on upgrading anytime soon, lest my investment not continue to drop to less than micro-pennies a day if you consider how much I paid for the whole shebang years ago.
But that doesn’t stop everyone who stops by my castle in the beautiful twin towers of Harway Terrace from demanding I get something that takes up less space and will allow me to watch my favorite shows without squinting.
Now, I know what you’re thinking (and will probably post at the bottom of the column if you post right now, without going any further) — “Carmine, you’re full of it. There is no way a man of your means hasn’t updated to latest and greatest equipment, especially since the stuff you’re talking about didn’t all come out at the same time (heck, Betamax wasn’t even invented until 1975!) and that model would never work in today’s digital world!”
Well, to answer your question, you’re wrong! But you are right that I didn’t buy everything at once. Add-ons like the Betamax and the rooftop antenna I get from Antenna King on 65th Street came later! And as for these newfangled “digital” transmissions, well, let’s just say that there’s nothing Radio Shack can’t convert! And you forgot about the Odyssey 2 I got in 1978 — one of the greatest video games of all time! — that will never be replace by any X-Play-Wii-Wii-Pad!
But you know something? Sitting in front of the television listening to music and playing “KC Munchkin” is one of my favorite pastimes, and it certainly makes me hungry and healthy — hunger pangs being the things that let me know I’m alive.
That’s why it’s always good to keep my trusty steed Tornado close by, his carriage being the place I store extra jelly donuts I hijack from parties, giving me a quick snack at arm’s reach!
Speaking of donuts, I was asked by Michael, the new friend I met at a recent pizza party, where or how do I get material for my columns?
Well, much of it is reclaimed from past experiences which have already been written in previous columns. And since I’ve been writing near four score and seven years, I’ve written a lot and met a lot of famous people. For instance, I opened the Daily News to see Gov. Cuomo embracing his mother, outside Tuesday’s funeral for his father, former governor Mario Cuomo, which instantly brought me back to happier times when she visited PS 95 and attended our dinner dance.
I was introduced to her by principle Jimmy Filatro (a star in his own right and a fantastic dancer) who told her I was a former Arthur Murray teacher. After waltzing with Matilda, she remarked after being introduced that she was delighted with meeting so many parents and educators at this lovely party, said “I even danced with an Arthur Murray instructor!”
Then there was the time I met Hillary Clinton when she was on stage with me at Seth Low IS 96’s auditorium singing the National Anthem at an assembly program around 1994. No need to tell you again I was a great ballroom dancer and teacher, but unlike Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, my singing ability left much to be desired. However! No one can yell “YEAHHH!” louder than me, which startles most the first-timers deafened by my roar. I controlled my singing belting out the lyrics when need be and mumbling the lyrics and notes, so that Hillary only heard my strong mellifluous voice hitting the good notes. Hillary came over to me and said “Mr. Santa Maria, you have a beautiful voice” on stage and again in the principal’s office; and I even had the audacity to offer to sing for her on her campaign trail.
Lastly, there’s Katherine Hepburn, who I ran while doing my assigned rounds at Trinity Place when I was a postal carrier. She was walking to the corner when I blocked her and asked her if I could direct her. She answered “No thanks.” but I walked alongside of her to see if I could be of any help to her. Again she grunted “No, thanks!” Seeing that it was fruitless to disengage me, she looked at me up and down asked “Are you warm enough in those clothes?”
“I’m fine,” I quickly responded.
Then she said these 10 words that I will never forget:“It must be all that fat that keeps you warm!”
It was that day that I vowed to never lose another pound!
Thank you Ms. Hepburn, forever will I be your most devoted fan!
Screerch at you next week!