By Ned Hickson
After getting the kids to bed last night, my wife and I settled onto the couch for some much-needed down time only to find that our television was having transmission problems -- beginning with the remote. My wife is the only one in our family qualified to operate it. Being a male, the longer I fool with it the further I revert along the evolutionary scale, until I'm reduced to beating the remote on the coffee table like a chimp trying to open a Superball.
That's usually when my wife informs me I'm not pushing the right buttons, which is a direct contradiction to what I've been told at various points throughout our 15-year marriage. Regardless, on this particular occasion, even the "great wizard" was having problems with getting the remote to work. I know this because she kept moving closer and closer to the TV while pushing a mystical sequence of numbers and buttons that, if not effecting our television, were surely reprogramming the coordinates of a Soviet satellite somewhere.
Finally, as she stood fiddling with the remote less than six inches away from the screen, I politely asked if she wouldn't mind reaching over and turning on the television. Now, until you've been hit by a flying remote, it's hard to appreciate its practical application as a weapon. I now carry one at all times, comforted by the knowledge that -- be it would-be thug or rogue television -- I have the means to handle the situation.
After getting a cold compress, I returned to find the TV screen, though on, now resembled an Etch A Sketch.
"I think it's the antenna," my wife said, immediately disregarding other possible scenarios I suggested, like the aforementioned Soviet satellite taking out the local transmitter.
"No, I really think it's the antenna," my wife insisted. "You should wear a coat."
As much as my wife is the master of the remote, I am the master of the TV antenna -- an extremely advanced, V-shaped assemblage of metal bars mounted to an 18-foot pole attached to the side of our house. Aside from hanging our ceiling fan, it is my greatest technological achievement. Only I know where to slide aluminum foil, which wire to jiggle, and how much duct tape is needed to keep the pole from swinging when it's windy. Without me, every station would look like old reruns of The Outer Limits. Which is why, when my wife yelled "That's perfect!" before I had a chance to do anything, I did what any husband desperate to hold on to his only sliver of leverage would do.
That's right. I shook that pole until there was enough static on the screen to suck the sweater off a sumo wrestler.
"Hey! What happened to the picture?"
"Give me a minute. You know how this process is. It's a very exact science," I reminded her.
After some duct tape, an adjustment of the foil, and a couple of jiggles, I got the picture back.
"What was the problem?" my wife asked when I came back in.
"It's hard to explain. Very complicated," I said, and removed my coat. "But I got it working again." As we dimmed the lights and settled back onto the couch, my wife smiled at me.
"Thanks for doing that," she said softly, then snuggled closer and whispered: "But if you ever again make me miss the first 10 minutes of my favorite show by shaking the antenna, we're getting cable."
You can write to Ned Hickson at:
The Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.