When Things Get Remote



They say men have a special relationship with their remote controls.

That we guys are very "controlling" when it comes to the ubiquitous black devices that not only run our televisions and stereos and VCRs and DVD players, but unlock our doors and even warm up our cars.

That we are reduced to total helplessness when we don't have control of the control.

That we can't function without them and become hysterical if they get misplaced, even for a minute.

One of the advantages of living alone is that I am not a participant in the control aspect of this issue. I have seven remotes and they're mine, all mine. If I want to sleep with all seven of them under my pillow it is nobody else's business.

Nor can I help it if they make newer appliances almost impossible to operate without a remote. Rather than simply being a guy thing, I believe this fixation we have with remotes has been imposed on us by the people who are getting rich by developing and producing new and better remotes.

In the process of making the remote control an absolutely indispensable item in modern society, they have even developed remotes that control other remotes.

But as long as they are leading us down this path to total dependence on remotes, I think they ought to do more. I mean, what do most remotes really accomplish except to turn things on and off or up and down?

If remotes are going to become like extra appendages, then I think they need to make a quantum leap over their present capabilities. Here are some applications I would like to see remotes able to do so life would be a little easier right here in the Rim Country:

• Speed up town council meetings.

The Payson Town Council has turned wasting the first half hour of a town council meeting into a fine art. There are pledges, prayers, announcements, pronouncements, denouncements, resolutions, proclamations, declamations, high school sports schedules, and literacy program cook book sales pitches. I need a remote that will allow me to FAST FORWARD through all this stuff.

(NOTE: I almost hate to bring this up, but so far the Diamond Star Town Council hasn't followed suit. Please, oh please, don't start.)

• Reverse the flow of water out of Star Valley.

Mark my words, water is going to be the Rim Country's Waterloo, so to speak. But wouldn't it be a hoot if somebody invented a remote that could reverse the flow of water in a certain pipeline just by hitting REWIND.

• Serve as a veritable fountain of youth.

One of the problems with life is this whole aging and dying thing. It seems to me that the hours when we sleep are wasted hours as far as enjoying life goes. How cool would it be if somebody invented a remote we could set on PAUSE each night before we go to sleep so as to put the aging process on hold during those hours. By my calculations, it would increase one's longevity by at least 25 percent, meaning we could all live to be 100 or more.

• Stifle people who are longwinded, preachy or just plain like to hear themselves talk.

Hardly a day goes by that I don't get stuck listening to somebody ramble on about some pet cause or issue ad infinitum. I'll bet you experience the same thing. Funny how it's always the other person with the big mouth while you and I are simply scintillating conversationalists. All the more reason why we need remotes with a very special MUTE button.

• Allow unpleasant things to be avoided.

Next to aging and dying, I hate going to the dentist most. That's why the next generation of remotes should have a special SKIP button that takes care of that little unpleasantry.

• Allow people to be in two places at once.

So much to do; so little time. It's a lament we hear over and over again. But not with the handy-dandy RECALL button on your new remote that lets you shuttle back and forth between two places at the same time.

• Correct your past mistakes.

Regrets -- we've all had a few. And what wouldn't you give for a chance to relive those moments and do it right this time. That's why the remote of the future will have a REPEAT button.

• Assuage guilty consciences.

Something you've done still haunting you, but you're not a Catholic so you can't confess it away? That's why the good lord put a CLEAR button on that brand new remote of yours.

• Remove politicians from office.

Is it time for an elected official to go? No need to worry about petitions and such when you're got a RECALL button on your remote.

• End a column.

All together, everybody. Pick up those remotes, and on three hit CANCEL -- 1 ... 2 ... 3 ...

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