I'm sure you've addressed this issue before, but what is a wife to do when her husband completely monopolizes the remote control for the television? I've been married for five years to an otherwise perfect gentleman who, when it comes time for us to watch TV together, runs ahead to grab the remote before I can get my hands on it. Admittedly, he knows more about how to use it than I do. Did I say "it"? I meant "them." We currently have five remotes for our TV/DVD/VCR/Sony PlayStation/Panasonic stereo system downstairs and three more remotes for the more modest setup upstairs. Just finding a place to put them all is a challenge, but learning how to use them would be a full-time job. Nevertheless, my husband has devoted himself to understanding every single button, which is great, I suppose, but then he thinks he's earned the right to work the remote at all times.
In his defense, he doesn't click through channels without consulting with me. And he actually sets the remote down on the coffee table if we're watching a movie. But there's just something about him sitting there with that magic wand in his hand that makes me want to scream sometimes. What can I do to get it away from him?
Pushes All My Buttons
Pushes All My Buttons: There's nothing you can do. Oh, I could tell you to hide the thing. I could tell you to remove the batteries. I could tell you to go out and buy a second remote so that the two of you could have light-saber duels straight out of Star Wars. But the fact remains: No self-respecting man of the house is going to give up his remote.
Join me, if you will, for a little trip down Memory Lane. It's 1958, a mere 50 years ago, and a married couple much like yourselves - we'll call them Ward and June Cleaver - are sitting in the living room of their suburban manse watching television. Wally and Beaver are upstairs, doing their homework. Ward is smoking his pipe. And now it's time to switch the channel from CBS to NBC so that June can watch The Dinah Shore Chevy Show. Now, who do you suppose gets up out of his comfortable chair and hauls his weary ass all the way across the room to the Magnavox?
Ward, that's who! From time immemorial, by which I mean the dawn of the televisual era, men have switched channels for women. It's what they do, like taking out the trash or mowing the lawn or...or...taking out the trash again. I can remember my father changing the channel for my mother even after us kids were born, if only because us kids were arranged in a rabbit-ear formation around the TV set to improve the reception. Yes, his job got a little easier with the invention of the remote, just as taking out the trash got a little easier with the invention of the automatic garage door. But it also got a little harder, since it does require an advanced degree from MIT to work these things. The point is, he's there. He's got it under control.
And let's face it, in this day and age, when a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, it's about the only thing he's got under control. I don't begrudge your need to push some of the buttons, Pushes All My Buttons. And my advice would be completely different if he channel-surfed without letting you know when surf's up. But unless you're prepared to get your own advanced degree from MIT, why not let him wave his wand around? It makes him feel like there's still some magic in him.
If your cable bill's higher than your mortgage payment, write to: MR. RIGHT, ISTHMUS, 101 KING ST., MADISON, WI 53703. OR CALL 251-1206, EXT. 152. OR EMAIL MRRIGHT@ISTHMUS.COM.