Angela Huston Columnist Medina County Ohio News

People who know me are aware that I have chosen not to fully embrace the world of technology as we know it today. However, my aversion to all these devices actually began several years ago, when I utterly failed while trying to use one of the simpler ones, an instance I will probably never live down.

I watch relatively little television, but one evening, when my husband had to be out of the state for a time, I decided I would watch an old movie favorite we had on tape. My familiarity with the VCR (yes, it was that long ago) was more than limited. For that matter, my dealings with the remote control "thing" are still pretty limited to ON-OFF and VOLUME. The simpler a thing is the better I like it.

I had observed my husband many times as he manipulated the various buttons, but, unfortunately, I never really paid very close attention. No problem. I decided to just get out the manual and read the instructions. Makes sense, right?

The directions seemed easy enough so I proceeded to follow them, step by step, actually remembering to aim the wand in the right direction. Nothing happened. I read them again, did exactly what the book said -- nothing! I went through this exercise in futility repeatedly for about half and hour, then did what I should have done sooner: placed a call to my husband.

I explained to him exactly what I was doing, but he could not figure out why it would not work. He then asked, "Are you SURE you pushed 04 first?"

WHAT '0'4? The manual did not say '0'4. The manual said channel 4, no zero, or aught --- just 4!

Obviously, after much stammering and fussing about the inaccuracy of the wording in the manual, I conceded I had only been pushing the 4. There was no sense in trying to explain why I would assume anything other than what I saw in print. When I finally entered ZERO FOUR, I was able to enjoy my movie (so, what if I wanted to see "White Christmas" in the middle of the summer --- I happen to be a Danny Kaye fan).

One of the many times you-know-who told this tale, a very young, obviously well-informed, capable child questioned how I could not know I had to push the zero -- the younger generation still takes modern technology for granted, along with McDonald's and indoor plumbing. Most of them could perform programming gymnastics before entering kindergarten. At that age I still believed a mouse squeaked, ran around where it did not belong, and was something to be caught in a trap. The big green eye on the Zenith Radio was as technologically fascinating as it got!

As far as I am concerned that whole remote control device has more going against it than for it. It made a channel surfer out of my husband and kept me from hardly ever seeing an entire, uninterrupted program again.

That evil "stick" also assumes all viewers are remote control literate and have nimble fingers. Yes, all those tiny, compactly arranged buttons do offer so many options, but even if I knew what to push, it would be nearly impossible for me to push just one instead of three or four all at the same time. Did Dick Tracy have this much trouble with his tiny two-way wrist-radio?

All these obstacles serve to reinforce my thinking that all these new and constantly-changing gadgets are designed to appeal primarily to men. For whatever reasons, they appear to be more efficient at operating them. Or, it might be they actually do enjoy pursuing the challenges... nah, I think they need to feel the power of man over mechanism.

I got used to watching very little television early on; however, I am curious. If men are supposedly more capable of keeping up with the latest technology, why can they not master the simple act of putting down the toilet seat? Perhaps if it could be controlled by that remote thing.....

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