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J.R. Buchanan


Paul Lynde

Note: this occurred in 1987.

Before I added this note, a reader commented that an older person would likely understand the nature of television, and reruns , as well as, or better than, someone who was born more recently. This would be due to the fact that he/she had grown up with radio and especially radio serials, which engaged the imagination far better than television, and were also played as reruns.

This is plausible reasoning, assuming that this event occurred in 2007, when the comment was made. However, as noted above (note not added until after said comment), it actually occurred twenty years earlier.

I would assume that the woman in question was about 85, just a fair guess, I don't know for sure. This would have meant that she was born in 1902.

The first commercial radio broadcast license was issued to KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Other stations soon appeared. This would have happened when the woman in question was about 18 years old, not likely to be in a position to buy a radio, even if she was inclined to what was a fairly technical hobby at the time.

But even assuming that her parents, or friends, were early adopters, she hardly grew up with broadcast radio, it started becoming common when she was a young adult. Some people adapt to new technology rapidly and well, others don't. My guess is that she was in the latter group.

I was working in the back of the shop. D---- called me up front saying I had a rework on the counter. A rework is an item that you've repaired that's back again. Presumably for the same problem, but as often as not, it's something unrelated that you have to fix for free for good customer relations. (I wish automotive technicians worked this way) Good for the shop, but when working on commission, not so good for the technician.

I went up front and saw a little old lady looking at a TV set on the counter. It seemed to be working fine. I changed the channels, all was well, no sign of the problem I remembered having repaired or anything else.

I asked her what the problem was. D---- was smirking.

"Paul Lynde is in the wrong square". What? "Paul Lynde is in the wrong square, you can't see it now, Hollywood Squares isn't on for another hour".

After talking to her for some time, I determined that someone named Paul Lynde was in the wrong square in Hollywood Squares. I knew of the show, but had never watched it, so I had no idea what square he was supposed to be in. I was sure of one thing, no defect in the TV would or could move him into another square. I tried explaining this, but she was adamant, and I was getting flustered.

D---- tried to come to the rescue by telling us that in a certain year Paul Lynde switched position to another square. The reruns had hit that point while the set was in the shop.

It turned out that our customer did not understand the concept of reruns. She didn't understand that all of the episodes she was watching had been taped years earlier.

This used to be a common confusion among some of our older customers. I suspect that today, twenty years later, most people understand TV better than that.

While we were trying to explain reruns to her, K---, my then future ex-wife came along and mentioned that not only did Paul Lynde switch squares, he was dead.

I thought the little old lady was upset and confused before, but now she thought I'd killed Paul Lynde! She was very upset with me, and wanted the police involved.

After a while, our manager showed up and sent us all away. After about 30 minutes he had her calmed down and on her way home. I still have no idea what he said to her, but I was quite impressed.