Saturday, December 10, 2011

Because moving, even a little, really sucks

Oh yays, now I can just bleat at my television instead of wearing out my fingers clicking my Medieval remote control! This is how people must have felt when the wheel was invented. Or maybe the light bulb.

Seriously, though. I guess that if I had grandchildren (and no, I am not old enough to have grandchildren) I could amaze them with stories of how grampa used to have to get off the damned couch and turn this big, heavy thing called a "dial" which protruded from the non-HD, non-70-inch, non-color television which looked more like a big ugly box than a big ugly window. Back when "plasma" was what people had in their blood, and had absolutely NOTHING to do with tvs.

Continuing my story, I'd tell them about the invention of "remotes" which weren't very remote- they had cords attached to them. Then the remotes lost the cords, but we still had to wait for something good to come on the tv, and if we missed a show, we were out of luck (oh, and if nothing good WAS on, we'd find something else to do. And no, that didn't include surfing the net, because surfing was something you did on the ocean, not a net. It might be hard, but I'd try my best to explain how there was Life Without Television, the Internet OR Cell Phones back then.)

Then I'd tell them about how grampa managed something called a "video store" back when he was in Graduate School, and how people would actually have to leave their houses to browse our library of "tapes." At the risk of aging myself, I might tell them the story of how grampa sold 300 copies of "E.T." six months before it was even released to the general public, $24.95 each, and how people would have to "rewind" their movies when they got done watching them. But maybe not- I don't want to scare my own grandkids, after all.

If I still had their attention- and they hadn't already abandoned me to talk to the X-box- I might even expand on that Life Without Television thing- about how the people of my generation actually spent a lot of our time outside, playing tag and hide and seek and a thousand other games we invented with our own brains without asking a single question of an electronic device, and without Googling or using a single App. Not even once. Maybe they'll think we were geniuses. More likely, they'll just think Grampa and his friends were really lame. And that their lives were really, really sad.

I think I'll skip the part about how, after turning the dial controlling the antennae, we'd run outside to watch it rotate so it was aimed toward Plattsburgh, New York, so maybe we could get a picture. I don't think they could handle that. After all, they are just kids, and they are living in a world which allows them to just sit on their butts and tell the X-box what they want to see or do. And what a wonderful world it is.


  1. You already don't have to get off your butt with a remote, so I fail to see how voice is any improvement, unless you count no longer having to try to find a remote to get things done as being an improvement. For me, that's a definite plus since I have the memory of a rusty sieve and tend to leave things all over and then forget where I set them down, but it's not enough of a plus to make me say, "Gotta have it!" If someone came up with an inexpensive GPS tracking chip you could put on/in things, however,...

    Reading your 'story', it's amazing to see how technology has changed over the years and how quickly things have changed in just a few decades. I wonder what's next.

  2. So, speaking is less of an intense workout than pressing the buttons on the remote. But don't you have to press a button on a remote to activate this control? My mobile phone has a voice activation mode, but I have to press "menu"> "tools"> "voice activation" to get to it. And, the few times I've gotten bored enough to play with it: "Call Mom and Dad" has the thing asking me: "Did you say Chad?"

    I don't even know anyone named Chad.

    "Play Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One..." seems like it'd cue up the husband's porn library with the slightly-off titles. "Play Hairy Twatter and the Deathly Whores..."

  3. Just another excuse to yell at your television. I can hear barking "MUTE!" several dozen times an hour. But I've taken on this burden- I kind of have to watch AND listen to these things.