All I wanted to do was change the damn TV channel late one night…….
1980. Salem, Oregon
TV = 12″ Black and White Piece of Crap about the size of a breadbox and the weight of a small car.
The TV is perched atop a dresser about 5′ from my bed. There is no remote for this ancient piece of technology. The lone rotating dial knob on the front of the TV will allow the user to manually switch between up to 12 different channels. No problem. We do not yet have cable, so we only have 7 freaking channels! Atop the TV is perched a set of useless rods pointing in opposite directions, known back then as “Rabbit Ears”. These “Rabbit Ears” could supposedly be manipulated to allow you to receive a better TV signal depending on atmospherics, temperature, current conditions in the stock market, and the price of Pork Bellies on the commodities exchange on that particular day. Skillful manipulation of these rabbit ears could sometimes allow you to pick up the faint and snowy signals of far-off stations in Seattle or San Francisco, some of which were kind enough to show late-night programming which might get you a quick glimpse of a snowy nipple.
Changing the channel late at night meant getting up out of the bed, walking across the room, skillfully turning the knob to the desired channel, about ten minutes of rabbit-ear manipulation to get the TV image into a watchable state, and then you returned to bed.
The Scene #2:
2014. Runaway Bay, Texas
TV = 27″ Flat Screen perched atop a dresser.
Behind our bed is a large headboard with a flat shelf atop it. I assume the designers of this wooden headboard intended for the shelf to house a lamp or two, some books, some creepy stuffed animals to stare down at you during the night, and whatever else you might want to put up there just above your head.
For my side of the headboard, this is where my remote controls are stored.
Remote #1: Operates the TV.
Remote #2: Operates the DVR.
Remote #3: Operates the DVD player.
Remote #4: Operates the Sleep Number bed air controls to alter the firmness of the mattress.
Remote #5: Operates the Sleep Number bed mechanical bed frame and massage feature.
Remote #6: A Universal remote that operates TV, Satellite DVR, Microwave, Garage Door, and the tailgate door on our car.
Remote #7: Operates my Spinal Cord Stimulator. While others running for the pill bottle when in chronic pain, I grab my trusty Stimulator Remote and can instantly zap my spinal cord with enough electrical prodding that my idiot brain will completely forget about the nagging pain that I had earlier.
Also atop my side of the headboard are three empty drinking glasses, some granola bar wrappers, and a creepy stuffed clown holding a hatchet that likes to stare down at me while I sleep.
Now, to changing the channel.
In the dark.
And remember, I’m an idiot.
Sigh…………. I have tired of watching the Ebola Channel and have decided to switch to Sportscenter.
Fumble around above my head and feel for the Universal remote so I can change channel. This feels like it. Expertly glide fingers across buttons and press button to change channel.
Faint noise in distance. Garage door is going up. Damn! Glide fingers across remote again, using muscle and brain memory, and land on the button that will change the channel. Press button.
A faint but distinct scream is heard down the block.
Every dog in the neighborhood immediately starts barking. I have no clue what I just did.
Replace that remote back onto headboard.
Fumble around in the dark feeling for the DVR-specific remote.
Ahh……… this feels like it. Glide across buttons until I feel the distinct feel of the rectangular button that will change the channel. Press button.
Immediately start flopping around uncontrollably on bed as spinal cord is being given a near-lethal dose of electrical stimulation that would kill most creatures smaller than an adult walrus.
As I am convulsing on the bed, my neck arches back to where I am staring up at the headboard, and through the jolting surges of electrical stimulation that are taking me to the edge of blacking out, I see that creepy clown staring down at me……….. mocking me………….
For all I know, the little stuffed clown purposely mixed up my remotes from their usual resting places.
Frantically start punching buttons on stimulator. After minutes of uncontrolled flopping and loss of bladder control, the “stimulation” finally stops.
I throw that remote across the room so I can’t mistakenly grab it again.
“Please Lord! I just want to change the damn TV channel!!”
I look across room at TV.
Even in the darkness of the room, I can see it.
No knob, no dial, no buttons, nothing!
No way to change the damn channel without a remote!
I fumble around behind my head. Remotes are scattered everywhere.
Here! This feels like the DVR remote!
Click! Click! Click!!
The TV is not changing channels!
What is that noise?
I mistakenly grabbed the wife’s sleep number remote and have proceeded to let all the air out of her mattress.
I watch in horror through the darkness as the tiny woman slowly sinks beneath the waves of her mattress. One minute she was there, the next minute she was gone, completely engulfed by the deflating mattress.
She’s gonna be pissed! (not to mention the fact that one my button punches has opened the tailgate on her car as it sits out in the dark driveway)
Fumble around the remotes blindly.
Start punching random buttons.
Was that a gunshot I heard down the street?
punch! punch! punch!
Why is the heating system coming on???
Damn! What did I do now????
Life was so much easier in 1980.
I want my little black and white piece of crap back!