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Remotely Concerned

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Remotely Concerned

I wonder where we are going with this; hell, I even wonder where I’m going with this. But needless to say, we’re headed for trouble no matter the destination.

I recently had to purchase a backup heat source in lieu of something I’ve done almost habitually for the past thirty years. That being, one way or another, filling the woodshed with several cords of nice dry BTUs. I say ‘almost’ because procrastination has, at times, played a bigger role here than I would normally admit to in mixed company.

It’s a nifty little ‘cabinet grade’ infrared heater, and it works quite well, thank you for askin’, and, so far, has kept our humble abode from freezing up, although it hasn’t really done that outside yet. 

‘Yet’ being sometime before Christmas and on the same day my property taxes are due, ‘the end of the world’ rolls around (according to some), as well as the deadline for this story. I find a lot of times I have to make this stuff up in advance and just hope for the best, especially where the weather is involved.

Well, anyways, I haven’t received the January bill yet but my back feels a lot better for the purchase. The pain has to go somewhere in trade for the heat though and, for now, it’ll have to be in my wallet. I may know more when my eyebrows check out one of those ‘deep winter’ power bills coming up in a month nearby.

With its cost of operation being an unknown at this point, the only annoying thing I can find wrong with this heater is the remote control. Not the remote itself, mind you, just the fact that it exists!

Wait a minute, I smell rubber burning or maybe a wet dog… oh, it’s an epiphany! One that illustrates a correlation between out of shape societies and per capita needless household remote controls; commonly referred to as CBOOSSAPCNHRC. There might be a few more correlations here but my nose has gone off in search of some incense. 

I mean, really, with parking for remotes already beyond capacity as it is, this new one seems a bit preposterous. Not only that, it’s tiny! So tiny in fact that while I was digesting the “How To” section of the disclaimer manual for any loose nuggets of wisdom, I set it down by the pile of other remotes, turned around and heard a distinct “ppffffffft!” 

Concerned, as the sound didn’t come from me, I surmised it was the DVR remote showing superior disdain for the unworthiness of this paltry newcomer, oddly oblivious to the fact that it actually controlled more wattage, by far, than he and the others put together. 

I decided the couch might be a safer location for the little guy and even though I knew better, set it on a cushion next to me while I enjoyed some interesting disclaimer statements. During this intense period of rolling eyeballs, the couch swallowed my new, freshly powered remote!

After a perfunctory search, I let the couch keep it, then rumpled up what I was reading, tossed it in the wood stove and elatedly started a small but happy little fire in five foreign languages! 

I settled back to appreciate how well this new appliance fit in between my old trusty wood stove and ‘entertainment tonight’, a highly complex pile of mostly outdated devices that are tied together and managed by a vast combination of remotes, as well as luck, pluck and the occasional string of dirty phrases. 

“Nice”, I thought as I reached up to take care of a mustache hair that, for reasons I will probably never figure out, did an ‘about face’, exciting my left nostril enough to temporarily take control of key motor functions. This shifted my body weight just enough to make the heater suddenly turn itself on; display blinking 20 degrees Celsius. This I found adorable! So much so that, with my other arm, I probed my right ear, this time causing the display to switch to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. “Now we’re gettin’ somewhere!” I thought, “Who needs instructions?” I clapped my hands over my head and the fan came on! Bringing out the big guns, I lifted my right foot. This made the display respond by going up a notch, blinking excitedly! I put it down and picked up my left foot; the readout went down one, still excitedly blinking. I got kind of excited myself and tried to recall seeing anything in the instructions regarding calisthenics but decided it must’ve been left out on purpose, especially now that the manual was fairly unreadable at this point. 

Because I’m easily entertained, this went on unabated until my wife got home from work and inquired as to my current activity, to which I replied, smiling and out of breath, “Exercises! How was your day?”

After she found the remote, exercising didn’t seem all that much fun anymore, so I decided to mess around with our teeming collection, or herd as I like to refer to ‘em. ‘Central Command’ is another term. Many faces, shapes and sizes, functions, ranges and nationalities. A U.N. of electronic lobbyists, if you will.

Boggled more than usual, my mind drifted off and came back with an idea right out of deep space! A robotic little unit, short enough to hide under the kitchen table until called for, then, using voice recognition, it would fetch up any remote desired. Consideration of a patent played through my mind then somehow ran off with a dirty thought. Story of my life.

I leaned back and fantasized about not having to deal with finding the right remote anymore. I reasoned I might not be alone in considering this to be a cool new pastime as well as helpful as all getout in lowering depression in some people.

This cute little runabout could have a cup holder as well, and a name! ‘Remo’, short for ‘Remobot’ which would, in turn, be short for ‘remote robot, snack tray and beer caddy’. In Washington state and Colorado, it would have spaces for other things as well as a loose assortment of nicknames.

Being short, it would, of course, come with an attitude. By learning to navigate your dwelling, it might instigate a new game called “Finding Remo.” This would provide exercise, causing body heat, thus energy savings, which may offset substantially the cost of batteries needed to run this thing.

Its storage capacity would be large and ‘self configuring’; able to make sense of everything from screen monitor to dvr, DVD to VCR, Blue Ray to radio, table fan to table lamps, toys of tots and coffee pots, toasters, roasters, slowpoke cookers, mood lights, Christmas trees and vehicle starters. All you’d have to do was remember what it was you wanted!

This would eventually become too much exercise for most Americans to deal with, so a new and improved model would have to be introduced that could read minds.

Where THAT might lead, besides government involvement, could be anybody’s guess.

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Author info

Scott Clawson Scott Clawson No, he's not the electrician, he's the OTHER Scott Clawson, who's a quality builder when he's not busy busting a gut while writing his humor column for the first issue of each month, or drawing his Acres n' Pains cartoons.

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technology, Scott Clawson, remote control

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