Photo by Mallory

Photo by Mallory

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Remote Control

Television is the most perfect democracy. You sit there with your remote control and vote.
Aaron Brown

Some years ago, I read a futuristic story (true or not?) about a buried, frozen society from the past. Explorers found the body of a man preserved in a sitting position with legs outstretched and both arms bent at the elbows in right angles. He faced straight ahead as if he had been in a trance when his life ended.

The fingers of his right hand were wrapped around a flat, rectangular object. The explorers couldn’t identify the hand-held object. Finally they decided it had been a form of life-sustaining equipment that the man never parted with.

The story drew no conclusions for the reader. But it’s obvious this body was that of an American of the 1990s, watching TV from a recliner. The object gripped in the right hand? A remote control, of course.

In a typical day, how many times does a remote control make your life a little easier? The TV comes to mind first. A misplaced TV remote control brings instant frustration. We fuss and fume, looking high and low for the remote. In our search, we use more time and effort than it would take to walk to the TV set, turn it on, and sit in our favorite chair.

Of course, remote control can also dictate movement of garage doors from the comfort of a car. I recall my first experience with a remotely controlled garage door. I’d walked through an opened garage, stood at the kitchen door, and pushed the doorbell.

Except what I thought to be the doorbell, was in fact the control for the garage door. Instantly, the garage door responded, starting its downward journey like a secret trap door. At first, I had no clue why the garage had kidnapped me.

Trying to put two and two together, I timidly pressed the same doorbell again. To my relief, the garage door limbered back up to rest where it had been when I entered the garage. I then knocked on the door, happy when no was home.

What dependence remote controls command! As nice as they are, will we allow remote controls to turn us all into some degree of an inactive couch potato? Have we already done so? Would a futuristic story depict the remote control as our life-support system?

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