The short life and unhappy times of a universal remote.

Posted Mon Nov 10, 2003, 09:24 AM by Tracy | |

It was a good time. We were all riding the heady wave of the New Internet Economy. was on the verge of an IPO that promised to make its investors instant millionaires.

I have fond memories of, my distributor. I looked great in those days. I was lightweight, cool gray. My rounded backside would fit comfortably in any user’s hand. did a fantastic job with the photo on my page, really bringing out my highlights, alongside my list of features and functions. I had promise.

So they bought me. They programmed me to handle all their electronic entertainment devices. They put away the multiple remotes, each with its unique proprietary programming. I alone took place of pride on the coffee table.

I’m sure they meant to take good care of me, but good intentions often get lost in the real world. I ended up stuck between seat cushions, with none but a few quarters and the occasional pistachio shell for company. Not to worry, they wanted me soon enough and pulled me out. Sometimes I got knocked off the table and my batteries fell out. A few times my infrared cover plate fell off. Nothing that couldn’t be fixed.

But when they chipped my corner through their carelessness, that really hurt. I mean, here I was, at their service, their beck and call, doing whatever was asked of me. How did they show their appreciation? By knocking me off that damn coffee table.

I ran that VCR. On, off, fast forward, rewind, I ruled. Okay, maybe I couldn’t help with the set up. For that they had to dig out the old VCR remote. But only when they wanted to record something, which wasn’t often. But the VCR remote stayed on the coffee table. He didn’t get used often, though. I was still their favorite.

Then the DVD came. Nothing I could do about that. Is it my fault I was designed and built when DVDs were still an exotic rarity? The DVD remote stayed on the coffee table. Oh, I still controlled the VCR, but with their fancy-pants new DVD, they hardly touched the VCR.

This damn DirecTV/Tivo thing is the last straw, though. Its remote has as many buttons as I do. How can I hope to compete with that? About all I can do is turn the TV on and off. They don’t even use me for that anymore. The DirecTV remote has a TV power button. Forget changing channels. That’s the job of the DirecTV remote.

Sigh About all they use me for anymore is to turn of the radio. I can’t even help when they want their la-di-dah DirecTV in stereo. They ran the sound through the DAT on the receiver.

I – don’t – have – a – goddamned – DAT – button.

Sigh Sniffle Never mind. I’ll be all right. I just feel so … fat. Those other remotes – there’s three of them now – are so slim and sleek. The DirecTV remote even has a waist. I’ll be okay. Thanks for asking. Sigh

  1. Well remote, you have served your purpose, now it's time to retire to some condo in Flordia - or the Disney World of Remotes (AKA: junk drawer). Just be sure to hand over your batteries so you don't leak battery acid all over yourself (much like old people - except replace BA with something else...)

    Enjoy the retirement. Let the other kids play.

    cherz    Mon Nov 10, 12:23 PM    #

  2. Coffee tables on the other hand are here to stay.

    Ruben    Tue Nov 11, 12:16 PM    #


Links & Lists


Seek & Find



More Magpie

Kung Fu Diary
Magpie Knits
Magpie Writes
Photo Gallery

Sections and pages still in the "old" look, still accessible:


RSS / Atom


Graphics produced with Photoshop CS
Page layouts and CSS hand-coded with HTML Kit

Looks good in Firefox on PC, looks mostly okay in IE 6.0 on PC. I don’t know how it looks on Mac.