Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What are the chances?

I've finally figured it out. Why the Arabs hate us that is. Not just America, but Western Civilization.

Remote controls.

We have them, they don't. They hate us for having them so now they're blowing up busses and trains, flying aircraft into things (although someone should tell bin Laden this idea isn't all that original, the Japanese figured that one out in 1943) and committing all sorts of mayhem and destruction.

It used to be the Israelis were the prime target because even though the Arabs owned or controlled 99% of the prime desert real estate outside of Las Vegas, they wanted that little sliver of barren desert the Jews had that is about the size of the state of Delaware, and couldn't live without it and would blow up every man woman and child in the Middle East to get it.

That was right up to the time the Soviet Union imploded and the remote control revolution took hold.

Hamas, al Qaida, Hezbollah and the PLO then took a long hard look at what they were after and said "Fuck the Israelis! We want the remotes!

Akmhed wants the remotes. He wants to sit in his yurt with his seventy-two veiled wives who he has no idea what they look like watching Survivor and American Idol, or that hot new Arab college special, filmed live at Beirut University, "Goats Gone Wild III!"

In essence he wants to be just as pathetic and lazy as us here in the West.

Here's their chant:

"You dirty evil satans! Eaters of pork and pork by-products! Filthy consumers of alcohol and illicit drugs (but please oh please continue to buy our choice opium we grow in the hills of Afghanistan especially for you!) We want your remote controls now or we'll blow you all to Allah!"

Here's what I'm talking about. Friday morning shortly after I get up out of bed a guy I work with shows up at my place with a new in-the-box car stereo. He knew I was in the market for one and he has a way, shall we say, to get things way below wholesale.

He shows me this great car stereo, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, 10-band graphic equalizer, all the bells and whistles including...

A remote control.

What the fuck does a car stereo need a remote control for? We can't reach twelve Goddamn inches from the steering wheel to the dash any more? How fucking lazy are we now?

It gets better. I began to think... I remembered when I was shopping earlier this year for an air conditioner for my apartment, I saw one with a remote control. I thought you just turned them on and forgot about them. It's too cold, turn it down, not cold enough, turn it up for Christ's sake. I also saw a bedside alarm clock/radio with a remote control. How fucking absurd is that? You are to damn lazy to roll over and hit snooze, you have to use a remote?

It all started about thirty-odd years ago with the advent of the "Clicker" from RCA. Change channels from the comfort of your easy chair.

I'll tell you what. WE didn't have any 'clicker' in my house growing up, us kids were the damn clicker. The job of 'channel changer' was passed down like a Rite of Passage from sibling to sibling and we wore it like a Badge of Honor.

After dinner, we'd all gather in the living room in front of the Philco black and white TV my father bought in 1953 and then the fun would begin.

"Tommy, put on channel 10, Cronkite is coming on."

But sometimes the 'fine-tuning' function of the channel changer would be needed...

"Tommy, move the left rabbit ear to the left, the other left dumbass! Ok, good... Now the right one up straight. Jesus jumpin' Christ almighty! That's not working either! Go get some tin foil!"

Thank God we didn't have satellite then. I'd be up on the roof in a blizzard knocking snow off the dish.

We only had four channels then, the local ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates, and the PBS station out of Wilmington, Delaware.

End of fucking list.

No CNN, HBO, Cinemax, MTV, VH1. None of it.

None of this 500 channels shit. I had satellite TV in Arizona with 500 channels and still there was nothing on.

Now everything has a remote control. Have any of you been in a public restroom lately? Urinals and toilets that flush by themselves, triggered by a little remote control sensor. Spigots that turn on and off when you walk up to them. Paper towels are gone too. Just walk up to that little metal box on the wall, put your moist hands under the little vent and hot air blows out to dry them, again turned on and off by remote sensor.

I don't know about you, but I think I can manage to flush a toilet all by my self without any computerized assistance, thank you very much. Besides, those auto-flush hoppers are way to quick to flush for my liking anyway. You've just finished your business, pull your pants back up and VROOOSH!!!! Gone with absolutely no time to check things out.

Now wait just a Goddamn minute! I'm at the age when I need to check what I've left to make sure things aren't coming out that aught stay right where they were!

Was that my spleen swirling down the drain?

What's next? A little arm that will wipe my ass for me?

(guaranteed to get every single one of those pesky dingleberries or your money cheerfully refunded!)

Or another one that unzips my fly and pulls out my pecker, aims for me and when I'm done shakes it three times so I don't drip and put me away again?

(Thee times ONLY, that would have to be fail-safe set at the factory, lest some extreme right wing nut, remembering that old fourth grade adage; 'if you shake it more than three times you're playing with it!' decides it's a masturbation device and has it banned)

I do have to ad one thing here. Leave it to the French to give you another step in taking a dump. They use a bidet... What a bidet is, it's another commode-type thing that sits next to your regular toilet, and after you've pinched one off, you squat over the bidet and warm water sprays up to cleanse your privates, allegedly negating the need for toilet paper. How do you figure that? Unless you like a wet ass, you're still going to have to wipe, won't you? Leave it to a country that can't figure out how to keep the Germans out to think of that fucking brain fart.

I can see where the future is going with this one. Pretty soon we won't even need to use the restroom at all. We'll just hit a button on our remote control and Consuela in some Third World shithole will take a dump for us, all from the comfort of our barcalounger.

The things that were supposed to make our lives easier have made them worse. I was at a friend's house not to long ago for a cook out. His wife let me in the house and as I was walking through the living room and saw their two kids raptly watching the Bloomberg financial channel. These are kids ages nine and ten.

I had to ask, because I knew neither of them are destined for Wall Street...

"Hey guys, why are you watching that?"

"Because the remote is broken and the TV is stuck on this channel."


"Eh, guys, see those two little buttons on the TV? The ones with the 'up' and 'down' arrows on them? Try pushing those."

"Oh wow, Tommy! Thanks! We never knew you could do that!"

I'd like to show them an old rotary phone and see if they could figure it out. But to tell you the truth, I'm not sure which is more pathetic, the fact that they couldn't figure out how to change channels on their TV without the remote or the fact that they would rather zone out to Bloomberg financial that go outside on a nice day and play.

I've been accused of living in the past far to much and pining away for the "Good Old Days".

I think the reason is perfectly clear. As for the chances we'll survive another one hundred years as a species?

Those chances are remote.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

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