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Remote Controls and the X Chromosome

This is not intended to be a suicide note, I just want to share some observations about women and remote controls.

I am sure there are women who can program remote controls, and even manage to have both picture and sound going when attempting to watch a DVD. I would however, not bet there are many.

Ladies, before you brand me as a male chauvinist pig, hear me out. Sharing an observation and making a generalization is not a hate missive directed at an entire sex.

So with that meager effort toward a disclaimer, I will proceed.

I came home from work the other day, and as is my custom, I went into my bedroom and switched on Fox News so I could get angry and more upset about the world as I changed into my play clothes and shared some Cheeze Its with Bear.

When the television warmed up, it revealed, not my hero Charles Krauthammer, but snow. You know what snow is, it is the absence of Charles Krauthammer when he should be on screen explaining eloquently what I believe in a way I could never match.

I grabbed the remote and changed the set from channel 63 to HDMI1. Like magic, Brett Baier appeared. I had not missed Charles.

I deduced from the fact that the Directv remote's function switch was on TV instead of Satellite Receiver, that Barbara tried to change the channel to QVC or the Food Network, but the remote changed the TV from HDMI1 to the useless channel 63.

Simple huh?

I knew you would agree.

Then why is it I can not teach this to Barbara? I have tried, but have never been successful. I begin to explain, but we wind up in an argument. She impugns the hardware. I defend the hardware. Suffice to say, it all goes down hill from there.

I am always trying to be funny. If Barbara and I are "arguing" and I am holding the remote, I may point it at her and make an exaggerated button push in an attempt to turn down her volume or change her channel. Heehee.

The concept of a television, a satellite receiver, a surround sound receiver, an Apple TV, and a DVD player is harder for her to understand than Chinese arithmetic.

Until the technology is invented that can read a woman's mind, I think Barbara is going to need me if she wants to go from listening to music to watching Trading Spaces. 

I have shared this experience with some of my buddies and they can relate. Their wives get confused with function switches and HDMI ports. I know it is not intelligence. Women do much more complicated things than this. Lord, when I look at all of the tubes, cans, and bottles in the bathroom, I am humbled. How could any one person know what all of that stuff is for and how to use it?

No, I think the problem is one of interest and attention. Barbara is just as happy with the TV off. I guess if she cannot get the darn thing to come on, she just reads a book.

In contrast, hurricane Katrina took out my Directv dish, but I found a way to fix it in time to watch football on week one. Generator powered and the dish arm was propped up with a 4X4, but I saw me some NFL that day.

I have my remotes memorized. I can have one in each hand, pushing buttons and pointing them in the right direction to make my TV screen change faster than a strobe light. 

If I die before Barbara, she is going to have to call one of my friends to come over now and again to un push the mute button, put the receiver on the proper source, or make sure the TV is drawing from the correct input. Then again, she may just find the motivation to learn how to do it.

I have a few minutes, maybe I will watch some TV. Now where is that remote?

Until the next time

John Strain

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Reader Comments (7)

Sorry, I have no advice. I'm the one who hooks up all the electronics in the house and programs the remotes. I've given up trying to explain it to anyone else in my family, I just go ahead and hook everything up. They all do know how to use the remote, though.

April 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Desperation is driving me to attempt understanding all of the above. Anything with an "off" or "on" button has been a challenge and I hate when things don't "work".......unlike Barbara who would just as soon read, I do NOT want to miss a favorite program. After being alone the past three years I have started reading the manuals.

I have found them to be helpful.............:)

Your mama

April 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEsther

This sounds sooooo familiar. I was in trouble when I connected the cable box into the Bose surround sound system. Suddenly there was 2 things to turn on and off. Luckliy I was able to combine all functions on one remote with one power button. Otherwise, it could have been the end of a great 33 year relationship.

April 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Bryant

I think Barbara and I were separated at birth (except I came along a decade or so earlier). I just now found the "mute" button after having the new TV 2 years. But, I can unclog a toilet. :)

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSally

It's an evolutionary adaptation to men's penchant for always rearranging their toys. Women know that as soon as they learn how to operate each media setup, their husband will buy a new blu-ray player and a whole house DVD player trickledown will commence. As soon as they relearn it, their husband will change his mind about whether cable or satellite is a bigger ripoff and everything will change again. Barbara showed herself to be a real genius by selecting a mate that was good as fixing things. I was totally impressed by your post-Katrina football story, and by the pictures of your shed.

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Stovall

Barbara mentioned I should check out your blog about remote controls after she and I were hanging out Friday night and I suggested that we watch TV. We had to sit in the front room and watch the small tv as she did not know how to turn on the big screen!! In our house it is pretty much the other way around. Brian can turn the TV on however if he pushes a wrong button after that point....he is lost.. Opposites attract??? Your new blog-site is very nice. I decided to check out your pics and I had to smile when I saw the one with Bear "bearing" sawdust on his head. So cute.

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaye M

John, I finally found your blog again. I was laid up with a broken wrist this winter, nine weeks in a cast and four weeks in a brace, and I found the hunt and peck method of keyboarding a real hassle, so I didn't go online more than necessary for work. I had to change my email address because of a glitch at work where all of the email addresses are being changed to something else, causing lots of extra work for us.

Anyway, I am so glad to hear from you again; I always find your thoughts interesting, and you make me think. I hope all is well with you and yours.

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterInez Johnson

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