View Full Version : Rites of passage

09-30-2010, 11:39 PM
For the sons in our family, 12 years old was the magical age at which we took part in a hallowed tradition.

When the Curtis Mathes TV went on the fritz, Dad would swing it out from the wall, remove the back and, overriding all of the safety features, attach a "cheater" cord so he could observe which of its myriad vacuum tubes didn't look right (no glow, a blue glow, arcing, etc.). He'd turn off the set, disconnect the cheater cord and yank out the suspect components. Mom would come from the kitchen with a lunch bag and the oldest son in the house would be dispatched to the nearby Sage's store with a $20 bill and the lunch bag containing the iffy tubes.

In the camera department, said son would approach the altar of the electronic oracle:


The ritual is fairly straightforward: Find the tube's type on the flipchart above the socket matrix, set the rotary knobs as indicated, plug the tube into the specified socket, turn on the power switch below the red lamp and wait at least a minute for the tube to warm up. We who lost our Confirmation gift wristwatches had to use the One-Mississippi/Two-Mississippi method.

Press the TEST button and read the results off the meter and status lamps. Ask a green-vested clerk to unlock the cabinet below and find a replacement for any tubes that failed. Make sure to count and bring home ALL the change (with seven children to feed, even a candy bar purchased with the excess funds was out of the question).

Usually, the problem tube was replaced in one trip and over dinner, the son's role in fixing the TV was recognized.

And YOUR rites of passage? :)

09-30-2010, 11:49 PM
give grandma nana a sponge bath.

09-30-2010, 11:54 PM
Give cousin Cecily a sponge bath...

09-30-2010, 11:56 PM
Hey Joe,

That's absolutely brilliant. Think a self-service device like that would be allowed nowadays? And if it was, imagine the danger signs - Caution! This Machine May Contain Peanuts.



10-01-2010, 12:36 AM
USMC boot camp.... Rite of passage. Yep. For JVC: :yessmiley

Cliff Face
10-01-2010, 05:31 AM
Having a mouthful of dad's beer at 13 to scare me off underage drinking. His beer tasted NASTY.

And then I found vodka... ahh, memories.