The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Driving home from work today, I spied a TV set sitting on the ground, near a shut-down gas station where you often see a few cars for-sale-by-owners. The television had a sign taped to it that said, "Free TV--Works Great!"

I'm a sucker for free stuff, so I pulled over to check it out. Actually, I went as far as making a U-turn, heading back south on the road for a half-mile, then making another U-turn at the stoplight, and then heading back north to pull into the abandoned gas station.

I crouched down to inspect the set. Up close, it looked like it was in fine shape, no visible scratches or damage. But I could see why it was there for the taking: It was ancient, non-cable-ready, with a built-in antenna, and a pretty small screen (probably no bigger than 15 inches). It was, in fact, a JCPenney-brand color set. I quickly decided that I didn't need any more useless junk filling up my space, so I left the set there and took off. It was worth a shot, anyway.

On the way home, I idly wondered: Why would someone just leave a television there like that, with a sign on it? If they couldn't use it, or knew anyone who could, they could've just donate it to Goodwill (an outlet of which was only a few miles away from that spot). Or even just trash it. Why go to the trouble of placing it there? Could there have been something wrong with it? Going further, could it have been booby-trapped, rigged to explode or something?

I guess it's just as well I left that piece of junk by the side of the road.