Special mute button not included

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Guest columnist - Nancy Gaston

If I could change one thing about my husband, it would be to end his incessant control of the TV remote. No one but the Lord himself could understand the logic behind watching a good movie and then watch your husband use the remote to channel-hop during each commercial break to see what else is on.
It gets so aggravating to watch a blue of subliminal pictures of hamburger ads, sleep-aids ads, and beer commercials running together inside your mind. I suspect that he really doesn’t want to see what else is on at the same time. He wants to see everything that’s on at the same time, and he doesn’t care whether he’s back to the movie channel in time to see the whole thing or not.
My hubby, also affectionately known as the couch commando or Dish Nazi, is obsessed with controlling the remote at all times. It never ceases to amaze me that every time the remote is missing and can’t be found, he is willing to search the entire house, emotionally barking his irritation, rather than to walk to the TV and change the channel manually.
I know that I’m not the only one dealing with a remote control hogger. I have recently read that this type of phobia is becoming a cultural phenomenon. Not only do men have a universal compulsion to control remote control devices, they also want to control every situation in their lives, but to maintain some distance from the situation at the same time. That would make my husband’s love for zapping the remote controller from afar quite a natural impulse.
This seems especially true with the sophisticated television components sold today with their surround-sound speaker systems, VCRs, video games, stereo and computer systems, which leave a person dizzy with a half-dozen remote controllers to fiddle with. This tends to magnify the need for male control of the remote simply because he now has control of a bigger and more powerful multifunction remote that operates everything in the room with a flick of the wrist. You know the one I mean. It’s the remote that resembles a NASA engineer’s mathematical calculator — only the keypad looks like it is written in Chinese.
Characteristically, this mother of all remotes becomes the ultimate symbol of male dominance and power. This coveted, rod of power controls it all. The man that owns one of these tools is equivalent to being a medieval king, sitting on his royal throne, holding his bejeweled scepter tightly in his fisted hand, and shouting his mantra throughout his kingdom, “Who’s the Man?”
On behalf of men everywhere, it is little wonder that they have acquired such a high sense of domination in his approach to life. Through social conditioning, a male child is raised to relate to super heroes and killing the bad guys with guns. On the other hand, little girls are given a Barbie doll and an Easy Bake Oven to play with.
Interestingly, in Venezuelan households, it is the grandmother who walks around with the remote tucked in her apron. It appears they have the right idea over there. No one watches TV until they learn to pick up after themselves.
Here in the USA, my man may covet the TV remote but on the bright side, he is polite, honest, loving and he stays home. His only wish, I’m sure, is that when we were married, I had come with a mute button.