What's with the remote!
By Suzanne Berton ©
It’s midnight. After you sneak a peek at your spouse sleeping soundly on the pillow next to you, you tiptoe to the living room. A cackle of joy escapes your mouth as you flip on the TV. At last you’ve got your chance.
A moment later as you recline on the sofa, your hand gropes for the biggest invention since television itself, the remote control. You wouldn’t think of watching TV without one now that you’re used to using the remote. Half an hour later, after searching everywhere, you are exhausted and discouraged. The fun has gone out of the whole experience. Defeated, you return to bed.
Wide-eyed, lying in bed facing your beloved, you see the remote locked in his hand. Eureka! With renewed determination, you try to ease it out of his grip. Even in sleep, he refuses to let go, hugging it closer to his chest as he rolls over. Not to be outwitted, you try again. This time, however, he flips onto his stomach, the remote buried beneath his weight.
Frustrated, a burst of oaths pierces through clenched teeth. You turn over to your side of the bed, as far as you can, vowing that you’ll get that remote the next night. Now the battle has begun.
When the remote control invaded our homes, we never thought this would create remote control fanatics. It has. You may have one, lurking in your TV room, a smart one who knows when to gain access to the device before you do.
Remote control fanatics (RCFs) seem as ordinary as anyone else except for the fanatical gleam that shines through their beady eyes whenever they clasp the remote. It goes without saying that RCFs are not ordinary.
These individuals, RCFs as they are now called, often hog the remote even when they are not sitting in front of the tube. With wild possessiveness, and more than a little idol worship, they keep the gadget within eyesight at all times. That’s why they always get to it first.
Some RCFs are known to carry remotes in lunchboxes, attaché cases, or purses at work, just to make sure no one else finds it when it’s needed. Others carry remotes rolled up in their T-shirt sleeves like packs of cigarettes, attached to their jeans or vests with a chain, hidden underneath baseball caps, or in apron pockets or jean cuffs at the BBQ. The most zealous of these fanatics are known to transport remote control in holsters at their hips, sort of the cordless drill holster look for remotes.
In less severe cases, RCFs use the remote at will. As soon as a boring part of a TV program appears, or as soon as a commercial interrupts, the device is aimed and fired. (RCFs always hold the device, just in case). They enjoy the feel of the metal in their hands.
In most severe cases - the names are being withheld to protect the victims –individuals sit mesmerized for hours with the remote aimed at the TV. Instead of lockjaw, they get lock wrists. These fanatics are often found petting the remote on their laps, stroking it to their cheeks, or kissing it repeatedly for hours before bedtime. Some spend hours polishing them.
Borderline fanatics, those that are teetering on the brink of lunacy, watch several programs at once. They keep the device “locked and ready” on the arm of the sofa. One eye is levelled at the TV, the other on the remote.
Whatever situation, RCFs can drive any stable family member crazy because the RCFs cannot even sit through one program in its entirety without flipping channels. In many instances, the victim will sit relaxed watching TV, and once the show has reached its climax, the RCF will switch the channel just for the pure joy of having the power.
Victims can cry, plead, order, or scream at these fanatics. As though this were the trigger to the madness, the whole idea of owning a remote in the first place, fanatics refuse, flipping through the whole range of channels one by one, at the speed of light, ignoring the victim’s desired channel.
Children, of course, have no say in getting the remote because RCFs are adults. If by some chance a child does get to hold a remote, they are known to become miniatures examples of RCFs, switching channels as if they were playing video games. More to the point, they do it because they may never get the chance again.
Usually the parent, the RCF, hovers above the child’s shoulder just waiting. A fanatic Dad who watches three hockey games simultaneously makes getting the remote almost impossible, and the fanatic Mom who flips through one soap opera after another eliminates any possibility for the child to gain access.
Once the RCFs get a hold of the remote, they control the tube, and everyone else in the house. Whoever named the gadget should have named it the Control Box.
In the hands of fanatics, remote controls are considered playful sci-fi phaser guns. They are less dangerous. Instead of zapping people, the RCFs zap channels.
Even when they are at work, RCFs control the box. They always hide it for later use. Victims know this from experience. Alone at home, they’ve never been able to find the remote – ever!
Usually, victims of RCFs must turn the house upside-down in search of the latest hideout. When they are knee-deep in couch cushions, pouring with sweat from the search, that’s when they hear that familiar sound in the background – the TV turning on and channels flipping at the speed of light. The RCF has returned home, sitting cross-legged, remote aimed at the TV, a self-satisfied smile plastered to his face.
In their quest to keep the remote at all times, RCFs have developed their creativity to the maximum. In their twisted thinking – remember this is a disease – they believe if they hold the remote, their hold all the power. Everyone else is a wimp. That’s why they are paranoid. They need to hold and control the remote every moment of the day. They refused to be classed as wimps.
As a result, they stash the gadget in any hideout imaginable, in potted plants, inside the cushions, the kitty litter, and tissue boxes, in their running shoes. If there’s a spot to be used to hide the remote, they will find one. One man was heard to have hid his remote in the dog’s bone hideout in the backyard.
A lot of energy is spent trying to find new ways of discouraging RCFs. Victims have tried just about everything to cure them. Replace new batteries with old ones. Put obstacles in front of the TV. Change the channel manually. (That never works)! Tell the RCFs, a dog stole or chewed the remote to bits. The Government seized it. Of course, these attempts failed; the RCFs are always adapting. (Many RCFs rely on the manual, “Handy Guide for Remote Control Hijackers”).
If you are living with RCFs – studies indicate that at least 75% of all households do – you need to take action. Remember, this is for their good. And yours.
1. Read and apply all techniques from the self-help book, Rough Love for RCFs.
2. Replace remote with electronic tickle zapper.
3. Sew shut all the fanatic’s sleeves and pockets.
4. Seek psychologist’s help and have memories regressed to the onset of the addiction.
5. Hire a RCF deprogrammer (worth every penny).
6. Take fanatic to RCF Anonymous; enrol RCF in self-help class at community college or school.
7. Sell all your TVs and VCRs.
8. Buy dummy remotes with flashing lights and permit RCF to play with to heart’s content.
9. Admit fanatic to the anti-remote clinic for shock therapy.
10. Buy subliminal tapes to convince the RCF that the remote is yours only to control.
If all else fails, give up entirely. Buy another TV and remote. Become a remote control fanatic, too. That will really drive your RCF over the edge.