Genius at Work – Accidentally

About two years ago I purchased a DVD/VHS player from the nice people at Sears. It wasn’t cheap, but it did work very well. It’s been in storage for about a year, now, since I’ve been moving around doing research for for my novels. I finally took it out of storage and hooked it up the other day. It didn’t work. No power, and the DVD eject button had fallen into the case.

So out cane the small Phillips head screwdriver, and I crawled under my desk to unplug the power cord from the power strip. I opened the case – carefully, it’s all plastic clips backed up by a few screws, and the clips can break off with only a little effort on the part of your fat fingers.

There was no spring behind the eject button, and never had been. Two very tiny posts held the eject button in place on the lower rail on the inside of the plastic front of the case, and they were flexible enough to bend, allowing a contact to be made or perhaps a light beam to be broken; I’m not sure which, but I tend to believe the broken beam theory on this one. They were flexible enough to bend until they weren’t.

I couldn’t see any reason why the player wasn’t getting power; no bare wires touching, no loose cable, no nothing. There isn’t much in the way of repairable stuff in these things, at all, actually. I’ve been around electronic stuff long enough to know a real mystery when I see one, and this qualified for that label in spades. Well, there’s no reason to fix something if You can’t find anything broken, so I moved on.

I used one side of a piece of double-stick tape to secure the eject button in place against the inside rail on the plastic front of the player, and put the player back together. It seemed to work okay, so I crawled back under my work table and plugged the power cord back in.

When I did, I accidentally leaned on the on/off switch for the power strip, and the little red light came on. I was shocked – shocked, I say.

After easing myself out from under the table, I moved around to the front of the player and turned it on. It worked. I gently pressed on the DVD eject button, and the DVD tray slid out. I pressed again, and it slid back in. Just like it used to.

It is a good rule of thumb to avoid using these buttons, ever. One should always use a remote control. I’m not sure how that button became dislodged, but since it’s been moved around so much over the past year, I am surprised it works at all. but it does. Now.

Despite my best efforts, perhaps, but it does.

Double-stick tape goes right up there with duct tape and super glue, as far as I’m concerned. Windex is good, too.


About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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