There we are, three of us, sitting in front of the TV enjoying our show, with not a sound coming from the TV speaker. I picture my father sitting proudly behind us, admiring his work and basking in the sound of silence.
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It was one of my father's great experiments. We wanted to watch cartoons, and he didn't want to have to hear it. Solution: earphones. Lots of them.
After a trip to Radio Shack for supplies, my father set to work, stripping wires, joining cables, attaching plugs. When he was done, he presented it to us with pride. It looked like an octopus.
What he had done was buy four sets of earphones, the old kind you stuck in your ear, the kind that came with a little transistor radio, there being no such thing as today's modern headphones, and attach them all to one single plug that could be inserted into the front of the TV. This meant there were eight individual earphones, all connected to one plug. And because he didn't want us to sit too close to the TV, he had extended each wire by eight feet. When put in place, we could all sit comfortably eight feet away from the TV, and listen in stereo, each of us in our own little world.
If you wanted to watch TV, by yourself, you chose two of the earplugs (you might end up with two left channels), and you watched by yourself. Over time, of course, the long wires became entagled, and try as we might, there assembled a rats nest of sorts near the base of the contraption. We began to sit closer and closer to the TV, until finally, two us would be huddled together several feet from the TV, with our heads nearly touching as we fiddled with the wires to combat the constant shorting of the various connections.
Finally, one by one, each of the earphones died, until the whole contraption ended up in the middle drawer, the one above the drawer full of pictures, and under the one full of gloves and hats. I assume my mother just threw it out finally. But you never know, it could be in a box in the attic somewhere, waiting to be untangled.