An article in the Times today spoke about Intel’s plan to remake the way we watch TV, from a newly designed remote control to cloud based programming that is always available. The first thought about this new “integrated, simple new approach” was that I still see myself being called into the “living” room to get the TV working 5 years from now.

My memory of my Dad adjusting and playing with our old TV back in the 60’s is ingrained in me. He was the remote control. When the picture rolled (nobody under 40 knows what that means), he would get up and go through a ritual dance, first adjusting a vertical “control,” then sit back down. As the rolling continued he would go back to the set and hit the side, a technique I have used to this day to get anything to work, including my kids. Then he would proceed to yell about the poor job the TV repairman did trying to fix it last month, which would lead to the “lets buy a new TV” that we could not afford. Then there was the universal reset, shut it off, wait 5 minutes and try again. Of course the Lawrence Welk show was not really critical to our lives so we did not care. Then the final moment, the set was turned on and the antenna was moved, and Dad appeared to have won the battle of a war that never seemed to end, TV that could be watched.

Fast forward 50 years. The now “media room” has a monitor, sound system, DVD player, apple talk box and cablevision set top. Pretty basic stuff one would think. SO WHY IS IT THAT EVERY NIGHT FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS SOMEBODY HAS TO YELL FOR ME OR MY SON TO COME IN AND MAKE THE TV WORK?

I analyzed it and this is the final draft of the report being submitted to the commissioner of the “Institute for the making TV watching complex:”

My report reads:

1)There are always more remote controls than devices and the integrated do it all remote control never works and requires somebody under 14 to make it function
2)There are more cables disconnected than connected and unmarked, and requires somebody under 14 to make it work
3)The cables are borrowed as are the cable box, apple talk and DVD player, typically when parents are not home, and not returned by somebody under 14
4)You cannot read the words on the dimly lit equipment that have no less than a 50 possible positions and switch settings and requires somebody under 14 to make it work
5)The specific remote control that is needed is either under the couch cushion or in use somewhere else in the house by somebody under 14
6)Once you finally get it all working and sorted out something is changed for improving the viewing experience by somebody under 14
7)Batteries in remotes are missing and cables borrowed by somebody under 14
8)Xbox is connected to system and all other operations made unusable by somebody under 14
9)More than 4 switch settings are randomly changed at once by somebody under 14 (grand children)
10)Ice cream that keeps the energy up to finally watch a show is missing when needed, eaten by somebody under 14
11)Remote controls that are from equipment thrown out year ago are still kept by the TV, by somebody OVER the age of 14

My recommendation to the committee is to provide a notice with all equipment to bar all individuals under the age of 14 from getting within 200 feet of all equipment. A small yellow caution label showing a 14 year old being “grabbed by the neck” as he takes a cable off of the unit would be a good starting point. I took a “stay back 200 feet“ sign off a local fire truck and hung it on the door.

So there is no doubt in my mind as the 14 year old grows up and leaves for college, my job to try to get the TV working so “Baby Songs” can play for the grand kids, and then later have Breaking Bad play for my wife, I will continue just like my dad, to keep the show going.

That’s why daddy matters.

Larry