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Make Do

We weren’t poor, we were inventive. We’ve gone from make-do to just get another one.

I was watching Intelligence on Netflix, a pretty good mob/government conspiracy series and there’s a cliffhanger at the end of Season 2. I do the quick search with the remote and I don’t see Season 3. I ask the friend who recommended it and he says, yeah, there’s no Season 3, that’s it.

First, I’m annoyed. How can you recommend something that just goes away, and isn’t resolved? And he shrugs, that’s the way life is, dude. Is it coming back? I ask. Doubt it, he says, they’re using flip phones.

Oh… Well, proves I’m no Jessica Fletcher or even Barney Fife. I didn’t even notice.

Jeez, flip phones. I do the Google and see the show was canceled in 2008. Only twelve years ago. Funny thing is, styles and haircuts haven’t changed much since then, but flip phones?  Yeah, they’re basically the Pinto of mobile devices. Not that they’re going to blow up but they’ve become pretty obsolete.

But there are die-hards out there. And when I made a wisecrack to a guy using one, he said, he makes do with it.

Makes do. That brought me back. We used to always make do. Now, we just get another one, no matter what it is. Phones, shoes, cars, whatever. Things don’t really wear out, we just get tired of them. I was thinking that about my TV. It’s fine and it’ll be fine until I want another for no reason.

Not like the old days when you had to make do. You weren’t getting a new TV just because the antenna broke and the coat hanger you used for a replacement never quite got the reception right.

In the old days, you had to get up to change the channel. Can you imagine? The effort, sheesh. And say you were watching Channel 11 and you wanted to change to Channel 2. You’d twist the dial as fast as you could, flying past the other channels. But those were the days when things did wear out. All that channel changing stripped the metal or plastic spindle that held the dial. Pretty soon you’d have a dial but it didn’t catch on the spindle threads and it’d be good for nothing.

But you had to make do. You yanked off the dial and got a pliers to turn the spindle to get to your channel. Classy. There was a TV with no dial, a coat hanger in the antenna hole, and resting on top were the pliers. By the way, using pliers was no easy task. Grabbing the spindle with the pliers teeth to turn the thing took some patience and skill. Half the time, you’d just say forget it, I’m watching Channel 9 or whatever.

Now? It’s the end of the world if the batteries on the remote don’t work. Then again, it’s just as bad as having a worn out spindle. I don’t think I can change the channel without a remote. Do TVs let you do that anymore? I wouldn’t know how to make do.

Back then, making do was what was done. You needed a ball to play stickball or asses up, you’d get the same hanger from the TV set and twist it so you could fish a ball out of a sewer or storm drain. With a little patience, you’d have yourself a smelly ball.

Those were the days. Nobody said just get another.

By Kevin Boyle 

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