The Remote



television remote


Ah, the remote.


There is not a couple in America that hasn’t gone a couple of rounds over the remote, according to a absolutely thorough and legitimate study conducted by me as recently as sometimes and using such rigorous methods as reminding my friend about the time her husband lost the remote for like six months and refused to go buy a new one because “it’s got to be in the house somewhere.”


So obviously, you’re familiar with the standard assortment: who has the remote, who had it last, whose turn it is to have possession of the remote, etc.  Once again, I’m only here to show you our particular, unique tiffs.


The possession issue is rarely contested in this house for the simple reason that the TV is all the way down in the basement (which is cold 365.25 days out of the year) and therefore the “what to watch” negotiation generally takes place before we head down.*  Also, everyone’s got a laptop, a smart phone, or other personal internet-capable viewing device of their preference and can watch whatever they want, wherever they want.  So if we’re venturing into the basement for the really big screen, it’s because two or more of us have agreed on something to watch (this happens no more than once per day, unsurprisingly) and no one is willing to waste precious, shivering moments (no, space heaters do not help due to something something radiant something oh my god I don’t really listen because I’m cold and can’t believe he’s yapping on about why it’s so cold rather than just handing me the fucking blanket) debating what to watch.  With the programming issue settled, the remote becomes a terrible burden rather than an awesome source of power.**


We do, however, crank up the intensity on the “where is the remote” discussion.  Because, again, of the cold.  And each of us, on more than one heart-stopping occasion, has felt the cold slick of dread that comes when, having confidently asserted that we don’t need to get up to look for the remote because someone else had it over there last and we are 100% certain that we are not sitting on it, we finally stand – here, you see, I’ll look again! – only to discover that the remote had somehow found its way under our set-upon.


You just shivered in sympathy.  I know, you’ve been there.  And you know, as I do, that there is no possible way to recover from that situation with any grace or dignity.


That never stops me from making an attempt, certainly.  My argument – and feel free to borrow this one, because I think you’ll find it both elegant and unassailable – is that this would never happen to anyone if we could just agree that when we are done watching, the remote goes back on the table by the television.


Husband, beast of habit hush your crazy talkthat he is, claims that this is unnecessary.  He swears that the One True Solution and correct resting place for the remote is the arm of the couch.


I ask you, how can I be expected to argue with someone who thinks like that?


Offspring, meanwhile, cannot be counted on to keep the remote from falling between couch cushions or slipping under the sofa entirely, so he’s of no help to either side.***


adult alligator eating baby alligator

The real reason alligators eat the young: they don’t want teenagers.


And so the theoretical and exigent questions of where are, in the case of the remote, inextricably entwined; one will always lead to the other and we might as well wake every morning to I’ve Got You, Babe.


At least we occasionally mix in some other classics, to keep it interesting.



(we’ve lost, then found, the remote)

ME:  Why would you put it there?
HIM:  Exactly.
ME:  You’re admitting that you do things that make no sense?
HIM:  I did something that made so little sense, the only possible explanation is that you did it and tried to blame me.  Thereby framing you by making me look guilty.
ME:  Like with the blankets?
HIM:  Exactly.
ME:  … I can’t tell if you’re agreeing with me or mocking me.
HIM:  Oh, yes.  It’s one of those.






*I say “generally” but, as we’ve already covered, there are a fair few maddening evenings when we discover that the film or show that we had planned to watch has disappeared from Netflix, or we’re out of episodes, or someone changes their mind at the last minute – generally claiming to have been pressured into the original choice to begin with, in order to justify the do-over – and, with takeout cooling in front of us it’s just not acceptable to argue the point: we’ve got to move on and find something.


** Particularly on those blindingly frustrating occasions when, in spite of careful planning, we have to find something


***This is typical of teenagers.  It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.


2 comments on “The Remote

  1. weebluebirdie says:

    Yet another universal truism!!! We had a fine time when we moved house and the remote was lost for a couple of hours – I accept full responsibility for that one, having forgotten which safe place I put it in. My suggestion of “just use the buttons on the side of the TV” was met with an incredulous look which clearly said, “what, stand up to use the TV?? Are you insane, woman?” I’m also a believer in putting it down on the coffee table beside the other 50; he keeps it on the arm rest. I am also frequently accused of sitting on it, or more accurately, “is it wedged up the crack of your a***?”


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