Thursday, June 21, 2012


In an age where women's liberation movements have forced much of the male population to redefine their identity, both in the workplace and in relationships with women, some men are grasping for the last vestige of power--the remote control device for television and cable.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with this harmless fixation, it can become  annoying. Men unable to control the women in their lives, have turned in desperation to controlling what is watched on television. Many of the most liberated modern women still like to have car doors opened for them, learning after over two decades that it's all right to be both aggressive and feminine. Some men have trouble realizing that they can relinquish power without losing their masculinity. Proof of this lies in the number of men obsessed with the remote control--it's beginning to get out of hand at my house.

The first thing my husband says as he plops down in his recliner after a grueling day's work is, "Where's the remote?"

"I don't know," I answer. "One of your grandsons probably lost it again."

He  initiates a frantic search, mumbling things under his breath that I am better off not hearing.

"You know," I mention pragmatically. "There's a button on the cable box that turns it on. That is, if it hasn't deteriorated from lack of use."

He scowls at me and continues looking, recovering the remote under a pile of throw pillows. The tension in his body visibly drains away.

"I don't know why you need the remote," I say, looking up from my book. "You have to keep getting up and down to adjust the volume each time you switch stations anyway. But then, it's the only exercise you get."

He glares at me as if that statement is too stupid to warrant a reply, and begins his nightly ritual of channel surfing until finding a cable program showing someone building a log home from scratch, or a chef demonstrating how to produce a six-course epicurean delight in ten minutes. The shows are reruns which he's seen ten times already, although he vehemently denies this.

This is why I read novels in the evening, glancing up occasionally to observe swans mating, or a lioness bring down a baby gazelle and devour it. Flick, flick, flick. It goes on all night, catching a baseball score, the weather forecast,(always wrong) or checking the progress of the log house. After all, he points out, he might want to build one himself some day.

The man can easily watch three movies at the same time and somehow get the gist of all of them. God forbid  he should actually watch an entire commercial. Books have a quiet continuity about them, which is why I prefer to read, especially since I have little chance of watching anything that doesn't involve a hammer, saw, feathers, gills, fur, or exotic food.

"Are you aware that swans and crows actually mate for life?" he asks, interrupting one of the more passionate scenes in my novel.

"Yes, dear," I say, having heard this particular documentary droning in the background a dozen times. "But it's been proven by researchers that they have continual affairs."

"That's riduculous!" he says, apparently feeling some need to protect the moral reputation of bird life. "Where did you hear that?"

"I read it in the New York Science Times," I answer. "The eggs in the birds' nests were found to be sired by several different mates."

"See?" He says, with that hint of arrogance that I hate. "That's the trouble with you. You believe everything you read."

I rest my case.

Flick, flick, flick. He gets up and down again and again, adjusting the volume, until I am ready to scream.

"Can't you watch just one program until it's over?" I ask, through gritted teeth.

"No!" he answers, a little louder than necessary. "I might miss something on another channel."

"Honey, why don't you give me the remote for a little while?" I ask, rather gently.

"Not on your life," he says. "You'll just put some sappy tear-jerker on." He moves the remote to the other side of his chair, holding it down with his hand, as if he believes that I might actually get up and physically wrestle it  from him. It is getting to the point where he may need professional therapy, I think to myself.

It isn't just my husband who's obsessed with the remote control. Whenever my sons and sons-in-law visit, it's the first thing they grab, after raiding the refrigerator. I even have to carefully pry it from the tight little fists of my grandsons. I thought at first, it might be a genetic problem, but most of my female friends are struggling with the same phenomena. Maybe it's one of those male bonding things. I'm not well-educated enough in the field of psychology to suggest that the little black device might be a phallic symbol.

Anyway, being the loving, understanding mate that I am, I've decided, acting out of pure altruism, to tolerate the aggrevation, and allow my husband to hold on to the remote control--a final exercise of power in a confusing world of mixed-up gender roles. He'll give it up when he's ready.


  1. GREAT post, Micki! I love your sense of humor. But if I were you, I wouldn't hold my breath until your husband gives up the remote. That may never happen.

  2. Ah Ha! Now I know why my husband holds on to the remote control with his bare life. Flipping through channels happens at my house to. There is the same old film, the same animal movie that has played for years but my hubby has always seen it for the first time!
    To be quite honest, I stopped quarreling with his a few years ago, about who has control over the remote. I saw it was not getting anywhere, because he would then began to complain about chest pains, if you know what I mean. :-) So I decided to lengthen his life by not saying anything, if you know what I mean.
    It is good to know that these symptoms are not only showing up in Germany, but all over the world.
    I loved your article, Micki and I am still laughing. It is Friday and I will not feel bad, when he grabs for the remote. I will let my altruistic feelings show and gladly find the little black device for him. :-)

  3. Here you go again, Micki..making me laugh out loud till tears fall onto my computer (am sending you the bill if it ever shorts out!). This is so true, Micki!!!! I have not known one male that has not had to have the remote in his hand! Not sure I would have the patience that you seem to have yet I haven't walked in your shoes either :-)

  4. That's such a cool and amusing blog post Micki. I loved it!! And it's sooooo true!! I just enjoy so much reading your writing style!!

  5. Micki, this reminds me of my father, but in those days there was no such thing as a remote. He had to keep getting up to change the channel. We would see 10 or 15 minutes of a family program only to have the channel changed to the second quarter of another. By the time we had figured out what had happened during the first 15 minutes so we could follow it, back he would go to the TV and find yet another. And so it would go throughout the evening. We never got to see a movie, either. And he could watch several football or baseball games at the same time while he had the radio tuned to another and also at the same time read the Sporting News. Makes me tired just typing it! So it's not so much the remote, I think, but control of the TV. But I have no idea why. I don't have to worry about this as I'm not married and I don't have cable so get absolutely no channels on my TV. I just use it for movies.

  6. Sandy, I fear you are right. Just this week my 13 yr old grandson hid the remote from his brothers so they wouldn't change the channel he was watching--it's spreading through generations lol. I say--let them have if if they need it so much. I have a life--of sorts. Thx for posting.

    Hugs, Micki

  7. Patricia, Oh no, it's gone world wide!! It's sad to think that it is their last vestige of power through no fault of ours lol.You really made me laugh!!

    Love, Micki

  8. Ddody, your PC probably needs a good cleaning anyway lol. Sad state of affairs when all men feel they can control now is the TV. Now they know how we felt all those past years. What goes around comes around :).

    Love, Micki

  9. Diane, Thanks for the visit. I think men are control freaks in general--sad that in this new age all they get to control is the remote hehehe.

    my best


  10. Raani, so glad you stopped by and liked this. I felt it was a bit droll and slow moving but I'll take your word for it lol.

    Hugs, Micki

  11. Hi Micki,

    You may be right about the remote being some kind of phallic symbol. Of couse, my husband has the same attachment to the remote control as the other males mentioned here. Whenever, I ask him not to switch channels because I'm watching something (which is rare because, like you, I'm usually reading), I actually notice him twitching. Keith is now also attached to his Blackberry which he denies. Who knows? Maybe its just glued to his palm. Thanks for making me laugh with this post. You're writing is amazing! Peggy

  12. Peggy,
    I thought it was just my husband but know now it's a universal glitch in their personlities--among many other glitches lol. Glad you enjoyed it.