Hissy Fit - October 2019
...because everyone needs one every once in a while
October 2019 Issue
by Elizabeth Skenes Millen
Three remote controls, a Google Home and a cell phone. That is the equipment needed to turn on the one television in my home. I have to wonder if anyone truly knows how to turn on the television anymore? If your answer is yes, does that mean you have the know how to get a picture and sound at the same time, or did you just luck into it? And, even in your triumph, are you not terrified you may push the wrong button and never find the Hallmark Channel again?
To put things into perspective, there are automobiles that can practically drive themselves to Alaska, and they only need one key. And, in many cases, the key only needs to be somewhat near you. The car turns on without ever having to actually touch the key. Yet, when it comes to watching TV, it takes an arsenal of remote controls and a smart ass seven-year-old to turn it on.
Who ever thought that remotes outnumbering the television was a good idea? Wouldn’t you like to meet this guy, strap him to a recliner, give him warm beer, push every button on every remote, place the remotes across the room and make him turn on the television. Of course, the timing would need to be just right to evoke extra stress—perhaps three seconds before kickoff.
My children, both in their 20s, bought me a Google Home for Christmas last year simply as an aid to turn on the TV—seriously, for no other reason. They were tired of me calling, while they were out with friends, having dinner, or at the movies, to have them walk me through turning on the TV for the hundredth time. Admittedly, Google Home has made it easier to navigate to services such as Netflix and Hulu, as I can now select a movie from the app on my cell phone and it turns the television on and boots the movie up on the television screen. However, a remote control is still needed for volume control. Which remote? I have no idea. Usually, I just run through the gamut until I can hear the TV.
The other problem with having multiple remotes is knowing where they are. It’s hard enough to keep up with one, and sometimes one will go missing for a very long time. Of course that’s the one that changes the channels. There is no way to find it, either; I mean you can’t call it. Speaking of that, have you had someone call you when you’ve misplaced your cell phone, and then you run around the house trying to hear it? I will even run out to the car to see if it’s in there. We have become quite the society, holding purses up to our ears and sticking our heads into tote bags to listen if the phone is in there. I don’t mean to point out the obvious, but we never lost the telephone when it was hooked to the wall.
Think about how many Americans frantically search under every cushion in the house to find the remote. Millions, I’m sure. In fact, we are so diligent in looking for the remote, we will search for it for hours, walking all over the house, even looking in the refrigerator, and then relinquishing ourselves to a book or the newspaper, if the search is unsuccessful. Correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t you still walk over to the TV and push the on button?
Nonetheless, being able to change channels without having to get up is really a perk. Since the remote was born before my children, they have never had to do without. When I was a child, I was the remote, which took skill. Remember having to dial into the channel just right to get the best picture? If that was still the case today, parents would be very busy changing channels for their children, which is a whole other Hissy Fit in itself.
Is it me, or do husbands handle the remote selfishly? Come to think of it, the divorce rate has risen since the the remote control infiltrated our family rooms. I found that my ex had an uncanny ability to flip the station right at the most compelling part of every show. Even when he didn’t change it during commercials, he would flip it right after you listened to the sales spiel, but right before they told you what the product was. Not to mention him watching two shows—or worse yet, two games— at a time, flipping back and forth like a fish out of water. I couldn’t take it any more. I had to either give up TV, my marriage or my wits. Well, I still have my wit! I flipped the other two off.
Here’s a quiz:
(give yourself 2 points for each yes answer)
___ Do you currently know where every apparatus is that operates your television?
___ Do you know which apparatus actually turns the TV on?
___ Do you know what the video source button is for?
___ Are you familiar with your HTMLs?
___ Do you know how to get Netflix on your TV?
___ If someone turned the TV off after watching a DVD, can you navigate back to a show on regular television?
___ Have you watched a show you didn’t want because you were afraid to touch the remote? (If you answered yes, subtract 3 points—you have no idea what you’re doing.)
___ Did you sit in your chair only to realize the remotes are across the room? (Subtract more points if you answered yes. It doesn’t matter how many, no one can truly win the remote game, anyway.)
___ Have you cursed at or thrown the remote control within the last five years? (Subtract all your points, you’re angry with a tiny piece of equipment that runs on AA batteries.)
___ Does your TV have a constant static screen and you sit and watch it? (Give up, you don’t have a remote chance in hell.)
If you scored over 10 points, congratulations, you must be the cable guy!