by Mike O’Brien

I have been enamored of many possessions in my life, despite knowing that objects are not supposed to be worthy of such devotion. As a kid, when anyone in the group I played with said he or she "loved" something, childhood friend Duffy D'Angelo would scold us: "You cannot love a thing!"

Despite biblical, parental and even nun-based admonitions not to worship golden idols (read: material things), I was smitten with stuff.

I loved my Schwinn Continental bike with its metallic gold paint. I loved the feel of the tan-and-black, thin rubber tires and the way sunlight exploded off hundreds of spokes arcing out from the special hubs.

I also felt this way about the Rawlings baseball glove my father took me to buy-its soft, golden "authentic leather" cowhide fingers, and the smell of the oil I'd rub on it before wrapping the glove around a hard ball to shape it.

I even recall going to bed-and I mean getting under the covers-wearing a brand new pair of blue Keds sneakers. How I admired their feel and smell!

As life has roared on, my devotion to certain material things has abated somewhat. Sure, I have prized articles of clothing, automobiles and even property, although none hold the attraction of the objects from my childhood. Until recently, that is.

This time, the object of my devotion is my TiVo, the data-encapsulating hard drive and remote control that has transformed my television viewing habits.

TiVo is a device that stores incoming television programs on a hard drive so that you can watch according to your own schedule. TiVo also enables you to watch only the parts you want. Don't want to see Vern the auto guy get stupid in a commercial? TiVo lets you buzz right past it. You can watch the average 30-minute television show in about 20 minutes. Here's another plus: Say you get home late and don't want to watch the entire 150-minute, promotion-filled Kings broadcast. TiVo enables you to fast-forward and zero in on the team's actual play, which comprises only about 30 percent of the program.

Another aspect of TiVo I like is that you can quickly rewind whenever you wish. Say you got interrupted while watching something or just did not understand the gibberish spewing from a politician's mouth on C-SPAN. With TiVo, you can rewind a program at any time and replay it instantly.

TiVo's quick rewind feature may be my favorite, but it also may be altering my reality. Recently, I was listening to Armstrong and Getty on the car radio, when I missed something they said. Without thinking, I reached out toward the radio, ready to TiVo it back and replay what I missed. Wouldn't life be grand with an instant rewind button? TiVo may be confusing my reality, but I love it. Love it! Sorry Duffy. Sorry Sister Mary Agnita.