“Can you put the remote on pause for a second?”

Sounds of fumbling. (“JEE-sus KEE-rist”) 


“I heard you. I’m trying to find the right button.  Give me a break.  Here — YOU do it!”

(Five minutes go by as we hunt for the Pause button on the slippery thing, realizing we will then need to find the Rewind button….you get the picture.)


Washington is a total mess as the government shutdown enters its fourth week. People fret about getting the horrible flu that’s rampaging across the country.  Antarctica is melting. Soon it’ll be mudslide season in California. And the Polar Vortex has fractured, breaking into three parts, dooming the eastern United States to bitter punishingly-cold weather just as Mr. Wonderful and I leave Florida and head north to the Maine tundra. 

But I have weightier concerns and they are real. Having been gone from home for several weeks, we will need to reacquaint ourselves with the television remote when we arrive back in Kennebunk. And we weren’t bosom buddies with the wretched thing before we departed south. 

Mr. W. and I write on computers, take photos and deposit checks to BOA on our iPhones, read books on Kindles, and can even program our Cuisinart coffee maker (providing we locate the Instruction Booklet that I stashed somewhere). But the TV remote challenges us. As do some other aspects of today’s technology.


Vignette 1:

During the Christmas holiday, I sat down with my 12-year-old granddaughter to watch her favorite show.  She picked up a TV remote, spoke into it (“Turn on ‘America’s Funniest Videos’”) and instantaneously before my eyes was a smiling Alfonso Ribiero introducing the evening lineup of slapstick situations.  I asked Maddie, “How did you get the remote to do that?” She answered, “Oh, we hacked it.”  

At our house, the only words I speak to my remotes are not printable and the only hacking I’ll do will require a chainsaw. Mainly because I’m not sure which of the TWO remotes for ONE television actually activates Netflix. We also need a magnifying glass to read the “mode settings” and we have yet to grasp what the yellow A, blue B and red C signify.

IMG_7151 2.JPG


Vignette 2:

Early this week Mr. Wonderful and I met college friends for lunch at a seafood harbor-side cafe in Fort Pierce. I looked at the six Colby and two Skidmore alumni sitting around the table, and figured that our combined IQs might help me find the answer to niggling techie concerns.


So I asked: what is a smart TV? I was told: one that works. 

I then asked: what is an Xbox? Someone suggested: a marijuana smoker?  

Then I asked: what is the difference between an Alexa and an Echo. They agreed: an Echo doesn’t gossip, it just reverberates.

Apparently, I AM NOT ALONE when it comes to my tech knowledge (or lack thereof) or understanding the meaning of Ethernet, Malware, Bytes or, — the worst —THE CLOUD!  I’m still waiting for an understandable definition of that nebulous area where “My Contacts” hang out.

I didn’t ask our friends if they had “issues” with their TV remotes.  I know the answer.