Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Confessions of a channel surfer

True confessions of a channel surfer

March 12, 2017

It was supposed to be a relaxing night in front of the TV. It started out that way. I was a little too relaxed and dozed off with the remote on my lap. A loud bang on screen jolted me back awake. Did they shoot that guy? Alas, I will never know. Apparently, when I jolted up, I knocked the remote from my lap. When it fell, it landed on some unknown button and the picture went away. My TV monitor went blue, and the words “No Signal” playfully romped across the screen.

I started pressing buttons haphazardly, frantically. I did all the usual things. Made sure it was set to channel three. I made sure the box was on. I made sure the cable was screwed in tight. I pressed buttons I’d never used before. Some of them seem decorative. What does the green one do? Nothing?

I needed to know a couple of (literally and figuratively) pressing questions: What button got pressed? How do I fix this? Did they kill Agent Fitz? Was he replaced by a robot?

I spent several days without the television, on my own little island of the uninformed. I was the Robinson Crusoe of pop culture. A conversation at work went like this:

“Did you catch ‘Modern Family’ last night?”

“No. I am not watching television these days.”

“Did you give it up for Lent?”

“Nope. I hit a button.”

Several days later, my brother guided me through the problem over the phone. I had to click on the main menu, scroll down and activate the HDMI. It took several steps. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how the television got so lost on its own. That must have been some wicked fall from my lap to the floor. I’m not that tall, especially when sitting.

I never thought this would happen. Televisions have gotten too complicated for me. Suddenly, you need a remote to turn it on, a remote to change the channel, a remote for the DVD and a remote for the Roku.

I wanted to connect the living room TV and the bedroom TV to the Roku and was told, “You need a Fire Stick from Amazon.”

I replied, “An Amazonian fire stick? Why does it sound like I’m trying to overthrow the tribe’s shaman? I just want to watch Netflix in the bedroom.”

Remember when you could physically walk up to a television and turn it on. I miss those days. Now, the TV doesn’t have an on/off switch. You can only turn it on with a remote. Isn’t that crazy? You have to leave the house, go to Costco and buy the big box of batteries before you can watch TV again. Over the course of the year, those batteries will slowly disappear. Next year, when the remote dies again, I will still have to steal batteries out of the smoke alarm to watch TV.

By the way, Fitz was replaced by a robot.

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