A Clickin’ Good Tribute

I’ve been kicking around the idea of changing up my blog to represent a broader scope of topics that swirl around my brain from time to time, and that means, more than just talk about creativity and writing. It means chatter about all things pop culture, sports, lifestyle, the occasional simple whining  – you name it! Have I scared you away already? Hope I haven’t singlehandedly kicked off a mass exodus from my subscribers. (The domain name change was only because the other one was just too damn hard to spell out for everybody…KuhnStories.com it is.)

So after coming to this decision earlier this week and announcing it yesterday on my Facebook page, I stumbled over inspiration – on a terrestrial radio of all things (who knew?) The DJ announced that the inventor of the remote control died this weekend – Eugene Polley…at age 96, mind you, so the man had plenty of great TV viewing days under his belt, thankfully.

And immediately, I thought back to a different era – a time when the remote controls in the house were…well…non-existant. For those of you who are my age (40s) or older, think back to the 1970s and watching TV in the living room with the folks. If your family was like mine, you know exactly who the remote control was…moi! The kids. Or let’s be more specific: whoever was sitting, standing or lying closest to the TV.

I can hear dad now directing me to change the channel after “60 Minutes” on Sunday night to another of the plethora of other networks – make that 2 others since this was long before the Fox TV network and we weren’t really a PBS household. By the early 80’s, we got basic cable and holy cow…there were at least 40+ more channels. Woot woot!

But when I think of the remote control and all that it allowed us to do and indirectly did to us, I’m blown away. We had the freedom to let our straying mind meander to another network and go from the Munsters on TBS over to Richard Simmons on Lifetime doing jumping jacks, then over to local affiliates to hear the news of the day, all of which we did not already know since there weren’t cell phones, Twitter and TMZ to break it first.

Thanks to you, Mr. Polley, we no longer had to lie there and just watch the next horrible show or that horrendous and terminally uncomfortable first generation of program-length commercials. We now had the power to turn the channel to a different horrible show of our choosing from the limited programming available. Now, thanks to your ingenuity and advancements since then, you’ve given us a device that lets us plan our viewing for days and days and even zip through parts of the shows (or ads) we don’t want to watch on what we record. Whatever would we do without you? Watch a whole telecast? Pish-posh. Why, that’s absurd! No one’s done that since…at least 1982.

Aside from humoring our meandering thoughts by treating them to even more meandering and supporting our selectivity for TV viewing as well as what appears to be an early onset of ADD, we also grew to be…lazy. And in some of our cases, and I take full responsibility for this one myself, fat and lazy. Thank you, Mr. Polley, for making convenience and comfort part of our everyday expectations and giving us the capability to sit on the couch/recliner/floor for hours and  hours and hours at a time. Our muscles, arteries and asses may not be quite so grateful, but they still do reach for that lovely little remote every time, don’t they?

In honor of Mr. Polley and his imagination, I say to each of you out there…for just today, try watching a show – any show – for the whole 30 minutes or hour without pausing, fast-forwarding, stopping or rewinding, and afterward, don’t switch the channel. Force yourself to sit through at least one show you never planned on watching and you will pay the most humble homage to this talented inventor.

Or you could just get up off your tookus and change the channel or turn off the TV. Whatevah…


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