Remember the “Friends” episode with all the free porn? There was a glitch in the cable system at their apartment and Joey and Chandler suddenly had access to an adult station to which they had not subscribed. They couldn’t stop watching because it was free and were afraid to turn the television off because they were afraid that when they turned it back on, the porn would be gone. It was a conundrum.
My lovely wife, Lisa, and I have had a similar situation this week.
No, no, no! Not with porn! Lord have mercy! She was raised Baptist! But in respect to being afraid to turn the television off, well, now I can empathize with Chandler and Joey.
Let me explain. I think I’d better.
Lisa and I are the advance team this week for my family’s annual pilgrimage to the Georgia coast. We come here for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party, which is held on the banks of the St. Johns River every fall. The game is actually in the state of Florida, but we decided a long time ago that the state of Florida had gotten way too much of our money on Georgia-Florida weekend, so now we stay — and spend our money — on Jekyll Island or St. Simons and don’t even buy soft drinks in the stadium on game day.
They only sell, Pepsi, anyway.
Our family wanders in as the weekend nears, as their work schedules dictate. For the past few years, Lisa and I have been able to make a week of it.
This year we are on Jekyll, one of my favorite places on the planet. I’d like it even better if it weren’t for all the pesky no-seeums, but that’s another story for another day and isn’t pertinent to the television story. What is pertinent is that this year Lisa and I are not actually going to the game. I am on a short leash due to some health maladies and it’s a long day below the border, so I am sending my kids and Rick Ramsey to do the heavy lifting, and we are staying on the island to watch the game on television.
This is where the television comes in. Stay with me. When we chose where we would stay for the week, one of the most important factors was whether there was a good television set on which to watch the game. (Notice the alliteration? Alice Queen pays me extra for that.) A good television set is a must if I am going to miss the game.
We were very pleased with the place we rented. Right on the ocean. You should see the sunrise picture I took our first day here! Plenty of space. A nice loft bed for Sir Henley the Adorable once he arrives. Huge balcony. Fresh ocean breeze and the sound of the waves rocking me to sleep at night. And, a very nice 60-inch curved-screen high definition television set.
With three remote controls.
Count them. Three.
Now, I am one of the smartest people I know. Lisa and I have six college degrees between us. We are not stupid people. But we could not get that television set to come on for the first 45 minutes we were here. When we finally got the set to turn on, there were about 10 channels streaming on the set, none of which we would ever want to watch.
We did everything we could to all three of the remotes, including setting and resetting the “source” and “input” buttons until our thumbs were ready to fall off. After we tried everything, I cussed the whole system and we tried everything three or four more times. Naturally we called the after-hours emergency number on the rental literature for help, because a lot of people were going to be having emergencies if I wound up stuck on Jekyll Island with no television on Georgia-Florida week.
And then, suddenly, I had somehow pressed all of the right buttons on the three remote control units in just the right sequence and there, on the beautiful 60-inch screen, was the programming guide for all the regular channels— like the ones “NCIS New Orleans,” “Bull,” “Blue Bloods” and, most importantly, the Georgia-Florida game come on.
I scrolled up and down a few times on the channel guide and chose a few stations and got them to work. Hallelujah.
But then it was time for bed, and I started to turn the set off, but was afraid to. I was afraid I would never find that right combination of buttons to press to make the correct stations available again.
So, I did what any reasonable person would have done. I turned the volume all the way down and left the television on all night. And all the next day. And the next night. We ain’t turning it off until we get ready to come home Sunday. There’s more than one way to skin a cat than to choke it on hot butter.
But to Joey and Chandler. I feel your pain, bros. I feel your pain.