Remote Shell Game

Hi. My name is Jan, and I’m not smart enough to watch television. (Of course, you could say that avoiding television is smarter than watching it, but that’s beside the point.)

To be honest, I don’t really think it’s my lack of intelligence. No, our media setup has joined the appliances and other electronics in the revolt.* I’m down 22-1, in my own end zone.

Let’s say I pick up the remote that operates the actual television set and push the power button. A menu pops up inviting me to choose what input I want.

But the various inputs are numerically coded and I can never remember which number means “television” as opposed to “Blu-ray” or whatever.

There aren’t even all that many inputs. Like, maybe four.

One day after scrambling around for several fruitless minutes, I gave up and called the AV guys who installed our system. “You want HDMI 2,” they explained.

“But when I select that, it doesn’t show our real network or cable channels. I get something that says TV but isn’t.”

Then I told them we’d recently installed a sound bar. “Ah… so, turn on the sound bar first. Select from the inputs displayed on the sound bar, not the one on the screen.”

“Ohh-kay.” (Why do they not match? I didn’t dare ask.)

“Then you can use the AT&T remote to control the television.”

“Not the television remote?”


Whatever. It worked, so… Fine.

Now, to watch Netflix, we used to turn on the actual television remote, then select “Netflix.”

Apparently, that was too easy. Over time, that method glitched once, then the next week, then every time we used it. We couldn’t access anything on Netflix.

I called AT&T for support. Several minutes of attempted troubleshooting, during which the guy clearly picked up on my level of tech-savvy. Finally he said, “Look, it’ll be simpler if you just turn on the Blu-ray disc player.”

“Use the Blu-ray? To watch Netflix? Which is via internet?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Who am I to question? I used the disc-player remote to turn on the player, which in turn triggered the television to turn on. Oh, lookie–the Blu-ray remote has its own “Netflix” button! After a few exploratory steps, none of which I can remember, I found the series I wanted. But afterward, I couldn’t figure out how to switch from Netflix to a football game on regular ol’ network TV.

I’m trapped in a house of mirrors at the intersection of “Who’s On First?” and “Rube Goldberg.”

All I know is, no matter what component you want to use, you have to start with the remote to something else.

Here, I would normally draw some insightful parallel between my media-component struggle and life in general. But with tech drama this wacky?

I got nothin’.

* If you don’t believe there’s any revolt, enter “appliances” in the search bar, upper right.

Your turn: Is anyone else confounded by too much technology? I welcome your comments in the box below. (Waaaay below.)

Thanks for reading,


About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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2 Responses to Remote Shell Game

  1. DONNA L PRICE says:

    That is why we do not have any cable. When the man in Wal-Mart says “who is your cable provider” I tell him “we have a tv antenna in the attic”. They look at my funny as I walk away. I am not savvy enough to figure all that stuff out. I can barely work my phone–just to be a phone!!! I can play a few games on the computer and watch Amazon movies. Keep It Simple Stupid. That is me. KISS.

    Liked by 1 person

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