It had the innocent look of a package delivery. Marked with the Amazon smile, the box was 8 inches wide, 4 inches tall, and was 24 inches in length. It was heavy for its size, and even in shaking the box it all had a solid feel. There was strength in this little box. I wondered what was in it as I dragged my thumbnail along the sealing tape, splitting it apart. I also managed to slit my thumb with a nasty paper cut. Angered by my self injury, I grabbed each side of the box flaps and wrenched them apart. They didn’t come apart; a small piece of plastic tape kept them joined and no matter how hard I pulled, this stupidly small piece of tape just hunkered down and opposed me. The insubordinate nature of the package’s lack of cooperation was rapidly becoming intolerable. “Damn you!” I cried as I yanked my Gerber first responder knife from my pocket, and opening it with a flick of a finger. The blade glanced off the tape and punctured two of those plastic packing pillows filled with air. Enraged at the audacity of the inanimate onject, I slashed with a back hand motion which, this time, cleanly severed the obstinate but respectably tough piece of tape. The box was open. Ha ha!
I dumped the contents of the box onto my bed and then took a minute to admire my acquisition. It was a brand new, fully articulated, side arm flat screen TV/monitor mount. Capable of supporting 24 to 42 inch plasma, LCD or LED screens, my 34 inch television would be well within the size category. The arm could hold up to 66 pounds. Since my TV weighed 35 pounds, that criteria was satisfied as well. I pulled the instruction sheet from the plastic bags laden with chunks of the mounting arm and flipped it open. The first two pages were safety information tips reminding owners that the mount did not render electronic equipment waterproof and showed a drawing of every single part of the kit. Flipping to the instruction page, I was greeted with:
Installing is made with two screws pleased to have located a support beam.
Attach when wire hanged by rings installed last step.
A level will make you lucky to see straight.
Made in China
Oh, wow. This was going to have to find a place in Bobs collection of dysfunctional communications. I could place this right next to the entry for the manual that came with a little magnetic travel chess set. It was a 2×4 inch booklet that said Rules for Chess on the cover. The second page was a table of contents which told me where I could find the cover. The next page said “item 1″ and was followed by yet another page wich said:
If can jump must do
The last page gave manufacturer information. The most frightening part was that the chess set was made in Trenton, New Jersey. I still shudder to think… At any rate, the television mounting arm was actually very simple to assemble and in spite of their instructions took about five minutes. I surveyed the wall and decided where I wanted to put the television. I wanted to be able to twist the TV around so I could watch it from any number of possible perches, like my desk bench, my recliner, my bed, and hopefully. the john. There turned out to be a perfect spot for it and so I dug out my Zircon stud finder and went searching for behind the drywall beams. It takes a couple of healthy sized lag bolts to support a television out on the end of the arm. The leverage must have doubled the apparent weight of the TV, mabe it did more. I discovered that where I needed to place the mounting arm didn’t have a stud within eight inches of it. The eight inches radically changed angles, and mounting to either stud would give me only two out of four of the viewing locations I wanted.
I lay on the bed so that I might turn all of my concentration on the problem. What I needed was a different shaped room. Okay, a difficult option. Then there was turning my bed so that it wasn’t aligned north-south. Of course, the last time I set up a bed that didn’t have its head oriented north, terrible things befell me. I had bad days at work. I ran into traffic at inconvenient times. My dog fell in love with a 210 lb bull mastiff that didn’t like me. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I moved away to a diferent town and state and made it a point to align my bed with the north. All of the things that bothered me about my old place stayed with the old place, proving unequivocably that this is not some jaded superstition but mostly factual expriments as rock solid as creation science. The bottom line is, no way am I moving my bed. Besides, there could be something hiding under the bed. I rarely go in there so I can’t be sure. Yeah, we’ll just leave the bed where it is.
So stud #1 got itself selected and I drilled the necessary pilot holes and then cranked the lag bolts into place. There it was, a folding arm that stuck out of my wall, just waiting to be laden with a television. It took two of us to actually hang the television, but in the end my wife and I managed to get the job done. I swung the television this way and that, and tilted it up and down. Then swung and tilted at the same time. On a lark, I positioned it to face the bathroom. I found out that if, while sitting on the john, I slide all the way forward so that just my cocyx barely contacts the toilet seat, and I lean forward and stretch and crane my neck just right, I can see the reflection of the power-on LED of the cable box. It all goes to show you how serendipity sometimes visits. (or not)Okay, if I mount the arm to stud #1 then I can see the television from my desk, my recliner and my north-south aimed bed. If I mount the television to stud #2 then I can see the television from the john and when I’m standing in front of it. While at first it might seem that this situation poses no dilemma at all; just forego the whole john view and settle for the whole left and right sides of the room. Except that I often find myself falling asleep on the john, temazepam kicking in unexpectedly to carry me off to dream land. When I wake up, I’m all disoriented and it would be nice to have TV to watch while I try to figure out how to go back to bed. Plus, if I happen to have had a documentary playing as I slept, I could dream learn a lot about animals who attack humans and why hunters need machine guns, missile launchers and Claymore mines to defend themselves from vicious animal assaults. Did you know that the mongoose is nature’s assassin? I didn’t.
The task had come to an end, I added some decoration and also a crossbow (we never established WHAT might be under the bed) and now I have a television that I can move even though it isn’t portable.