Going Digital Today

Today is the day that TV stations cut analog signals, and American television goes fully digital. For those unclear about how to make the transition, the folks at McSweeney’s offer “EASY INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CONVERSION TO DIGITAL TV.”

First, if you already have cable, you don’t have to do anything − just keep paying your monthly subscription-fee plus premium-channel packages, surcharges for additional converter boxes and remote controls, FCC and OVS fees, OMG and LOL charges, the Stamp Act, parental-control monitoring, additional cost to meta-monitor the parental-control monitors, and the thirty-seven other expenses listed conveniently in the fine print of your bill in Section 46.2, Schedule C, reverse side.

Otherwise, visit your local chain electronics store and buy a converter, along with a new cell phone plan and eight packs of AA batteries the employee pushes on you to meet his quotas, and silently curse yourself for being so weak-willed in the face of aggressive salesmanship.

Go back home. Your spouse and children will be there, complaining about how you’ve deprived them of a few delicious hours of digital TV and that you’re never there for them and just because you’re a big network exec doesn’t mean there’s still something vaguely feminine about your body language for which you’re obviously overcompensating.

And so on.

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Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.