Now that Bessie’s retired, it would seem the next-most-durable appliance in the household is a Memorex DVD/VHS combo unit that has done little-to-nothing to go above & beyond the call of duty, but has filled out an impressive lifespan of heavy use, with no grief involved whatsoever. I realized this all of a sudden when the remote went missing.

A missing remote is like nausea. Most of the time the “spell” is over in a flash and means nothing. Every now and then it flares into a real problem. And then there is the exceptional crisis that drags on and on. This was that. It ran on for just a little over twenty-four hours but it seems(ed) like so much more. Years. The coffee didn’t taste as good, the wine soured, the air didn’t smell as fresh — and it damn sure hasn’t felt like our living room. We lost some domestic tranquility as we proceeded to seriously entertain ideas that I, the wise and benevolent patriarch, had —

 • stuffed the remote into a dry cleaning bag with our laundry,
 • carried the remote into the bedroom and stuck it under my pillow,
 • stuck the remote into the junk drawer in the kitchen,
 • dropped the remote behind the couch and somehow ensconced it underneath,
 • carried the remote into my son’s bedroom,
 • walked out onto the balcony with the remote and left it in the rain,
 • …and my personal favorite, dropped it into the chest freezer.

Watching movies is not the same without a remote. Not now that we’ve had one and used one.

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I should add that Thomas Jefferson was to books what I am to DVDs, especially of silly television shows from the 1980’s. I’m pretty sure we’re up to half a ton now. My DVD collection is almost a decent retirement vehicle. Me missing the living room DVD remote? It’s like a centipede getting athlete’s foot.

The lady of the house found the remote. I rewarded her by forcing her to recant only half of her wild-a*s accusations toward her wise and benevolent patriarch, none of which turned out to be true. First order of business tomorrow, after a Mother’s Day session in which she’ll be plied with — what else? — DVDs — is to go out and score one of those remote-pockets. Time’s come. The deluxe model, please, that drapes over the back of the couch and has ten crazy-pockets. This cannot be allowed to happen ever again.

On the other hand…I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…it’s evidence of how good we have it, if this ranks real high on our list of problems. Of course it’s easy to keep that in mind now that we’ve found the godd*mn thing.

Update 5/10/09: Alright we have some candidates — here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

I finally decided that second-to-last one was the champion.

Best Day EvahI have a number of rules that I am persuaded to violate when remotes go missing. One of these is, I really hate bringing my engineering-thinking home with me. A home already has an engineer, after all, and it is the Lady of the House. I step on toes when I do that. But…sometimes, women are blind to certain things. Like — “I put all the remotes on the living room coffee table, why did they ever go anywhere else? If they stayed on the coffee table none of them would ever go missing?” Me: “Because…they got USED.” Her: “So put it BACK on the coffee table when you’re done with it, does that require so much effort?” Me (crisply, haughtily, dancing closer to the edge, I’ve come this far why turn back now): “It’s not a matter of how-much-effort. When people accommodate inanimate objects, as opposed to inanimate objects accommodating people the way the Good Lord intended, your precious plan will be rent asunder. That’s not even a rule; that’s just things the way they are.” Her: (That awful, scolding silence)…

See how terrible this is for domestic harmony? The remotes have to stay found. Period.

The other rule this violates is — I’m really not pleased with myself when I have complaints about things a man living a hundred and fifty years ago would not have. Like, fr’example, where’s that f**king remote. It tells me I’m turning into a soft-bellied twenty-first century veal calf.

And I don’t continue to wrestle and wrestle with problems, without solving them at some point once-and-fer-all. Because I’m a MAN, d*mmit!

So those last two rules are placed in direct conflict when the remote goes missing.

Thirteen dollars plus shipping to recover my manhood. Pretty cheap. Sure, a man can tolerate inconveniences, but there’s more to life than tolerating inconveniences. If you think that’s all a man does, you’re just a feminist shill. When the man’s done with the day’s work, it’s time for hot chicken wings, cold beer, and…let us get this one thing straight…the REMOTE!

As Yul Brynner said: Thus it shall be written; thus it shall be done.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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