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Upon completing the basement project, which by all accounts was the single most complicated and time-consuming construction job in the history of the world, my wife and I sat back and surveyed the results.  Like Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, or the crew of Survivor, we stood there looking out over this newly discovered living space, excited about what possibilities it held.  Unlike the first time I laid eyes on this fully finished basement and its vast, man-cave potential, I saw every nook and cranny as another place to store toys, toy boxes, and all toy-related paraphernalia.  Amazing what 6 years and two kids can do to a guy’s perspective, huh.

Anyway, despite the generally destructive state that the basement was in for about 8 months, there was really only one casualty of the renovation; the modest 32″ TV that made its home down there.  My gut tells me it was just her time to go.  My wife tells me it’s because I dropped it during a furniture move.  We can debate the issue all day, but that won’t bring the poor girl back.  Now that the dust had settled and the room was inhabitable again, we both knew the next step was to find a replacement for the recently deceased, and I was up for the task.

I had come to terms with losing the man cave a long time ago, but finding the right TV for my kids viewing pleasure (You can’t watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on just any boob tube, am I right?) gave me the opportunity to flex some manly muscle once again.  So last weekend, after putting our surprisingly cooperative kids down for a nap, I ventured out to Best Buy with the dream of a big screen TV and the gift cards to make that dream come true.

Yep, it's a 55"...I've got my bragging rights for now.

In a world where computers fit in the palm of your hand, and the adage that “big things come in small packages” is the general mantra, nowhere is this theme less on display than in the home theater section of an electronics store.  If you come away with anything that requires less than two grown men to carry, you’ve failed yourself and your big-screen brethren.  This should be rule #1 for any man thinking of upgrading to a big screen.  In fact, here are a few more rules to follow so you don’t end up as “that guy”.

~~  If you really want to make sure you’re getting the best quality for your money, do the research ahead of time.  Be prepared to buy when you walk in the door.  When a salesman approaches and asks if you need any help, you want to be able to say, “Ha, Do I need help?  Yeah right.  The only person who’s gonna need help is you, carrying my new TV to the register.”

~~ Make a list of all your buddies and find out what size their TVs are.  Determine the biggest among them and then purchase the next size up.

~~ Generally, brand recognition is important when making a “bragging rights” purchase.  For example, your friend Steve may brag about the gas mileage on his Prius hybrid, but deep down he knows it pales in comparison to Frank’s Hummer.  This rule of thumb still applies to your TV purchase, however, there is a loophole.  If you choose to purchase a brand that none of your friends have heard of, you can still claim bragging rights by starting at no less than 60″.  For every degree of separation it takes to find someone familiar with your new TV’s brand, you must add 5″ to its size to maintain those rights.  In other words, if after speaking to your best friend’s brother’s uncle’s cousin’s therapist’s lawn-care guy, you still haven’t found anyone who’s heard of your TV, you’re gonna need a frickin’ drive-in theater in your backyard.

~~ If you have not yet updated from your rabbit ears, basic cable lifestyle, you should not be allowed to purchase a big screen TV.  All you are doing is leaving one less TV for the rest of us.  The same rule goes for people over the age of 70 and convertibles, but that is a whole different conversation.

~~ If you are not fully prepared to host every Super Bowl, National Championship game, NBA Final, World Series, MMA fight, Pay-Per-View Boxing Match, Wrestlemania, and/or Curling Championship (if that’s what you and your buddies are into), until such time as the next friend brings home a larger screen, DO NOT BUY A BIG SCREEN TV.

~~ Plan your shopping trip during a major sporting event.  This will accomplish two things.  First, your wife will see that doing something for the good of the entire family is more important to you than some football game.  Second, you’ll be able to compare your options based on how said football game looks on the screen since the store will be broadcasting it on every set, and sports is all you care about watching anyway.

~~ Finally, if you intend to mount your TV, use a saddle.  If you choose to go bare-back, you’ll be sorry.