Sunday, June 29, 2008

On the remote chance....

June 29, 2008 - Have you ever wondered what triggered the "Great American Spread?" Was it the explosive growth of McDonalds? The fast food menu in general? The need for 'value' and giant portions? The newfound fascination with television and all it had to offer? ColecoVision, Pong, or Nintendo? Maybe it was the super sized extra crispy double patty smörgåsbord of two-income life? All good ideas. More likely, it happened in 1964, when the newly invented remote control stapled our backsides to the sofa.

Change a channel? Just grab the remote - it's right there, stuck in the folds. Of course with all these channels, image how many times you might actually have to move to find a program? Heck, it might actually cause you to break a sweat. Sweat is for Richard Simmons, and his team of remote control addicts.

Today, we celebrate - or mourn - Remote Control Day. Maybe rather than turning on the television - and flipping from soccer to golf to tennis to the ponies, we should ban the remote for just one day and actually get up to change the channel. I realize the turmoil this could cause. What would we fight over this evening. Mission control is always good for a row.

Don't get me wrong, remotes have their place in our world. TV remotes are smart in hospitals. Remotes are also pretty nice in Northern Ontario when it is -40 and you could actually freeze to death going out to start the car. The universal remote may have it's place in society. It could be saving lives. If you have to pick up 7 different remotes to find the one to turn the volume down, your frustration could be turned up to homicidal levels. But why do we have 7 remotes in the first place?

Do we really need a remote for the stereo, the television, the DVD, the VCR, the Digital Box, the surround sound, the computer, and the blinds? And cars... now, not only do we have remotes to start them, and to lock the doors (man those door lock buttons are hard to push manually), but to open and close the doors and lift gates. I had a stereo in a car once that came with a remote. How lazy could I possibly be that I couldn't reach 7" in front of me to change the station? My current car has the controls in the steering wheel. In order to stay warm now that I don't need to break a sweat, I just need a remote to raise and lower my thermostat.

Two amazingly crazy friends (one is 84) and I are jumping out of a plane at 12,000 feet today. I wonder if there is a remote for the parachute? Which raises a whole new question about the state of the batteries. Duracell, don't fail me now.

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