Remote Controls and the X Chromosome
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 8:17PM
John Strain

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

Article originally appeared on John's Online Journal (
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