Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Crooked TV Story

                                                           The Crooked TV Story
                                                                  A true story
                                           Written 12/29/2011 and rewritten 02/04/2016
                                                                 Howard Yasgar

       In 1964, I was living in Hialeah Florida.
       I had come to Florida to manage an auto wrecking business for a friend of mine.
       However, once I took over the management of the business I realized that the previous manager had embezzled so much money that it was impossible for me to save the business, so at that point my friend opted to close the place down, and I had to find something else to do to make a living if I wanted to stay in Florida.
      My mother had leased a very small hotel on Collins Avenue on Miami Beach. She had leased the hotel on a fluke for two years, starting around mid, 1962.
      The hotel, was called the Norman, was located on Collins Avenue near 70th Street, on Miami Beach, it was right above an auction gallery. Mom’s hotel caught the overflow from the larger hotels that were across the street like the Sterling and the Carillon, and it also attracted a lot of hippies and wacko’s that couldn’t pay their bill.
     Mom said she never made a dime running the hotel but she always felt like she was the queen of Miami Beach.
     When her hotel lease was up, mom liked Miami Beach so much that she wanted to stay there, so she rented a room at the Cadillac hotel.
      One day my mother called me and said that one of her friends who was also living in the Cadillac hotel was liquidation all her furnishings as she was returning back up north. Mom said we should hurry up and come down to the Cadillac hotel and look over her furniture as perhaps there was something her friend had that we could use.
      So we drove down to Miami Beach, and my mother’s friend showed us all her worn out, used furniture, and just as we were getting ready to leave the women said that she had more furniture in storage in the hotel basement. We didn’t want to appear rude, so we agreed to take a look at it.
      As I had expected, it was mostly a bunch of worn out stuff that no one else wanted. But there was also a thirteen inch black and white television on a brass colored metal wire stand, so I asked her if the television worked. She said, it worked perfectly, it was there in the basement because she had replaced it with a larger model. She said, she only wanted forty dollars for it. As there was no place to plug it in, and she appeared to be an honest person, we bought it.
       Once we got home, I immediately plugged the TV in, and sure enough it worked. The only problem was that the picture was crooked, it was higher on the right side by about three inches.
       Being mechanically inclined, I had always heard that you could fix this type of problem by moving the coil that was on the TV picture tube inside the set. So I took the rear cover off the television. However, once I looked inside I decided I didn’t want to stick my hand in there and get some kind of a high voltage shock, so I put the TV back together, and I placed a small cardboard box under the right side of the set to level out the picture, it really looked pretty stupid, and nobody in the house wanted to look at it.
       Now, whenever I was driving in the old neighborhood, where the auto wrecking yard had been located, I always looked to see if there was someone new renting the place.
      The wrecking yard I had managed was vacant for over a year, and then one day I saw several cars parked there. So out of curiosity, I pulled in to meet the new tenants.
      They were three Cuban fellows and they spoke some English, so I introduced myself telling them that I had come to Florida a year or so before to manage that very wrecking yard, but unfortunately the owner had to close it down.
      The three fellows said they had come down to Miami from New Jersey, and they had just rented the property. They said, that they were all sleeping on the floor in the wrecking yard office, it was temporary until they got the business up and running. They asked me where they could buy a cheap Television set.     
      I told them that I had a nice thirteen inch black and white TV that worked fine, the only problem was that the picture was a little crooked. Two of the fellows told me both in English and in Spanish that a crooked picture was an easy to fix. They said, all you had to do was take the back off the TV and turn the magnetic coils located on the back of the picture tube. They said they could fix the TV in five minutes.
      So I sold them the TV for the same forty dollars that I had paid for it, and I kept the TV stand. I also gave them my business card, in case they didn’t like the TV, they could call me.
     I never heard another word from them, so I assumed they had fixed the television.
     About a year passed by and I saw the wrecking yard was closed, and it was again available, the three Cuban fellows were long gone.
       About another two years passed, and one day my family decided we should go and get a pizza from a pizza joint located down town on East 4th avenue in Hialeah.
       We had remembered the store because it was owned by an old guy who wasn’t Italian. We knew that both he and his store were a little seedy, but his pizza was pretty good. We hadn’t been to his pizza place in over three years, so we hoped he was still in business.
      As we walked in the store, the first thing I saw was on a shelf in the back, he had a 13 inch black and white television with a crooked picture, he had put three books under the right side to make the picture level.
      We couldn’t stop laughing, I should have told him all he needed to do was remove the back of the TV and adjust the coil on the picture tube, it was an easy fix.  


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