I walk into the room and my wife glares at me in a way that makes me want to run back out of the room. What did I do wrong? Or rather, what of the things I’ve done wrong did she find out about? Trying to look innocent, I sit down in my chair as my wife points the remote control at the TV and punches buttons as if it was a Star Trek phaser, and she’s Captain Kirk trying to stop a charging alien creature.
“This stupid remote doesn’t work!” my wife yells and punches some more buttons to prove she isn’t making it up.
I breath a silent sigh of relief. She hasn’t found out anything. She’s mad at the remote.
“Which buttons did you push?” I ask, thinking I’ll reverse engineer the solution and be the hero.
“All of them,” she shouts.
“I think I know the problem.”
“None of the buttons do anything, smart guy,” she says, glaring at me now like I’m the alien creature. “They don’t work. That’s the problem.”
“Maybe it needs new batteries?”
“I changed the batteries …. twice,” she yells.
“Let me see it for a minute,” I say.
She chucks the remote at me. My panther-like reflexes enable me to snatch it out of the air on the first bounce off my forehead.
“I found the problem.”
“You couldn’t possibly have found the problem that quickly,” she says with her hands perched skeptically on her hips.
“But I did,” I say.
“Okay, smart guy, what’s the problem?”
“This is the remote for the DVD player,” I say. “Hand me the TV remote.”
She whips it at me, and from the whomp sound it makes when it hits the back of my chair, I’m glad I ducked out of the way and didn’t try catching it.
“That’s the remote for the cable box,” I say.
She slings another. Whomp.
“Sound system remote.”
She’s doing a full windup now. Whomp.
“Your cell phone.”
“My car keys. Now you’re just throwing stuff,” I say as she starts picking up her recliner. “What is it you exactly want to do?”
“I just want to turn on the stupid TV!” she screams.
I get up, walk over and push the ON button on the front of the TV. The dark screen brightens with a quirky sitcom.
“Thanks,” my wife says.
She puts her recliner down, sits in it and in a few moments she’s laughing at the quirky antics of the quirky family.
Life has gotten way too complicated in the quest to make things easier. When I was young, I was the TV remote.
“See if I Love Lucy is on,” my father would say from his prone position on the couch.
I’d get up and check the channels to see if I Love Lucy was on, which didn’t take long since there were only three channels on the dial. (Yes boys and girls, back in the time before dinosaurs, televisions had dials, and they had nothing to do with soap. You turned them to find a channel. Radios and telephones also had dials, and telephones were, and you can look this up, ATTACHED TO WALLS. You had to stand in one place when you used them! And televisions were sets, although you only got one—I’m as confused as you about that one.) While I was being the remote control, I’d have to adjust the volume up or down until I found the level my father wanted, which didn’t exist. Sometimes my remote control duties required me to pound on top of the TV to make the picture clearer. Let’s see a remote control do that nowadays.
In my new novel, A Death in a Snowstorm, the two main characters get caught in a primitive area where they have to survive without modern conveniences. There are no cell towers for phones, no electricity for lights and no roads for motor cars. There’s not a single luxury, but with the help of the Skipper, his little buddy Gilligan, Ginger and Mary Ann—who is the real hottie …
Okay, wait a minute. I got confused there for a minute. But they do get stuck in a primitive area and have to survive, and of course, as with all my books, that’s the easy part. More about that later.