Scott Hollifield: Excellent tech support from the great beyond

What would a long-dead 20th century Hall of Fame coaching legend know about 21st century audiovisual technology?

If my dreams are to be believed, the answer is quite a bit.

It started with a free television. It’s a fact of modern life that most free televisions are big, heavy pieces of junk taking up valuable space in someone’s basement. The sentence, “Hey, do you want this TV?” really means “Please haul away this big, heavy piece of junk taking up valuable space in my basement.”

But this one was just a couple of years old. It was a large flat screen and even though it was produced by a manufacturer I was unfamiliar with, it appeared to be a perfectly good TV. Still, I was skeptical.

“ Anything wrong with it?” I asked

“ Nothing,” he said. “I just don’t need it anymore. The sound isn’t that great but everything works.”

So, I became the owner of a free TV. I took it home, plugged it in and turned it on. “The sound isn’t that great” was a bit of an understatement, along the lines of “The Titanic had a small mishap on its maiden voyage” or “President Lincoln didn’t enjoy the play.”

While the picture was superb, the sound was tinny and scratchy, akin to a bad transistor radio. I couldn’t determine if it was an A or an E when someone bought a vowel on “Wheel of Fortune” until after Vanna was done and that’s no way to go through life.

I figured out what I needed: A sound bar, or a relatively inexpensive (when compared to a home theater setup) external speaker system to replace the built-in fuzz-makers on my free TV.

A couple of clicks and a relatively small ding in the debit card later, I was waiting for a sound bar to arrive from a faraway land. In a few days, it did.

“ Yes,” I exclaimed. “No longer will I have trouble with my vowels.”

That evening, I unpacked the sound bar, which came with a small, confusing set of instructions that appeared to have been translated from Chinese to English, then perhaps to Korean and back to English again. I wired this way and that, getting the Bluetooth and built-in FM receiver to work, but no matter what I did, I could not get the TV to play through the sound bar.

After many profanities uttered and several beverages consumed, I gave up and went to bed. Sometime in the night (and as odd as this sounds, it is what happened) the late former Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi, who died in 1970, came to me in a dream and told me how to wire the sound bar.

This was unusual in several ways. First, I’m not a big Green Bay Packers fan. Also, famous dead people do not regularly appear to me and I have little belief in “the power of dreams” or similar mumbo jumbo. In addition, I’m not sure how Vince Lombardi would know anything about technology developed decades after he went on to call power sweeps in the great beyond.

But there he was, those glasses, that gap-toothed grin (he was sans the trademark hat), and he told me exactly what I was doing wrong. He wasn’t a jerk about it either.

I bolted awake at 8 a.m. and remembered his directions perfectly. I marched into the other room, placed the wires just as Vince Lombardi told me and, by golly, the sound bar worked as it should.

So, I got a free TV, a pretty good sound bar and a nice visit in the dream world with Vince Lombardi, Hall of Fame coach, audiovisual guru and all around good guy. Not a bad deal at all.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, N.C. and a humor columnist. Contact him at

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