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On Becoming Obsolete

December 15, 2014


It has come to pass that I am no longer capable of using my own television.

I fondly remember the days of  VHF and UHF and bunny-eared antennas, snow-covered episodes of Sesame Street that would never quite come into focus. My brother yelling at me to change the channel from the across the room….

Sit Ubu, sit! Good dog.

Then came cable and remote control. One remote, not so bad.

Then TiVo, which, I’m told, is now obsolete, but I still use the brand name
as a verb, as in “How do I TiVO “Say Yes to the Dress”?! I managed to learn the TiVo machine-thingy relatively well. I could figure my way around that one white remote control, but by this time, the DVD player had it’s own, so we’re up to two.

Then I married Gabe, and things like pre-amps and woofers came into my life. TiVo was eaten by the DVR. We begat ourselves a Wii, and that beastly machine never does what I want it to, whether I’m bowling or trying to find movies on Netflix. I stand, humiliated, waving a white baton while a finger skitters across the screen as if to point out my own incompetence.

The DVD player was eaten by a Blu-Ray. Now we have something called Apple TV and I’m not certain what exactly it does, nor which of the six remotes on the coffee table make it go.

As such, I am left with only one alternative. It goes a bit like this:

“Please come turn the TV on for mommy. I want to watch something on Netflix.”


“Can you find me a Christmas movie on TiVo? I think I recorded one.”(They roll their eyes, but have stopped correcting me.)

Shamefully, I’ve gone so far as to rouse them from bed to come and adjust the volume. You push one wrong button…

On one hand, it’s a bit humiliating to have fallen behind this technological freight train at the still-fairly-young age of 41. I have a lot more falling behind to do in my lifetime. As I understand it, there’s this thing called an X-Box that may soon enter our lives…

On the other hand, it’s a bit like having servants. “Make it go!” I say, a teensy bit querulous, as I pass them the basket of remotes, and they comply happily, because they are boys and pushing buttons and aiming things is the pinnacle of all joy.

Frankly, I can deal with the shame.

Now, come, my little minions, Mommy wants to watch “White Christmas.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2014 8:12 pm

    I feel exactly the same way, Adelle. I love your writing style. You inform and entertain and I don’t even need a remote!

  2. Lee Lumley permalink
    March 23, 2015 3:39 pm

    Although I can’t relate to not understanding the technology…I’m a dude, after all…I loved the stroll down memory lane. “Sit ubu…” lol! Hadn’t thought of that in years. Look at it this way, at least they don’t have watches with internet access…oh, wait…

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