The Old Coot can’t watch TV

I can’t watch TV. Not when I’m a guest at someone’s house and on my own. “There’s a TV in the den and in the living room, if you want to watch,” they say, as they head out the door. “Great!” I think, since I don’t have a book or a newspaper to occupy my time. 

So, I go into the den and sink back into the recliner and grab the biggest of the three remotes from the table at my side and get ready to relax and watch a football game. The remote is the size of a small iPad, loaded with buttons; some labeled with words, most labeled with icons, many a mystery to me. I push the power button, an icon I’m familiar with. Nothing happens! I figure I used the wrong remote. I try a slightly smaller one. This time the power button gets some results; “Samsung” flashes across the screen and then goes blank. No picture. No sound. “Must be the cable box is off.” 

I pick up the third remote, a tiny thing with no markings at all, just two buttons on the side, barely visible and a touch pad that works like a joystick: up – down, side to side. I push it in every direction. Nothing! I give up!

When the owner comes home, he finds me sitting in the recliner staring into space. He grabs a remote and pushes a couple of buttons. A picture flashes on just as the sports commentator says, “That was the most spectacular finish to a football game I ever saw!” Then an actor comes on wearing a lab coat, extols the virtues of a miracle drug that will cure what ails you. The side effects are enormous, but don’t seem so bad when they are revealed, because the scenery in the background is so peasant. So is the music!

I grumble to myself, “Man, I miss the days when a simple remote was all you needed.” Especially when I think back to the year my parents bought their first TV. No remote at all. I was the remote, running up to the TV when my father wanted to change channels or the volume. We got three channels with an antenna on the roof. It cost nothing to watch TV back then. Now, the average cable bill and/or streaming services push the monthly cost into the $200 range. It’s just another example of why old coots like me go on and on about the good old days.

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