The joys of technology

People talk about retirement and how they’re looking forward to it, to having the money in the bank and having the time to go somewhere exotic, somewhere dreamy, somewhere better. They talk about going to Europe. Going to Hawaii. Going to Thailand. Going to Arizona. Going around the world. Going to all the national parks.

Those are all very nice, certainly. But whatever happened to getting old and going mad?

Speaking of madness, I had a disturbing encounter with home technology last week that bordered on semi-insane. It happened when I noticed that there was no place on my coffee table to set my newly freshened tumbler of Bushmills and Red Bull. (Known as Red Bush, this modern cocktail calls on the Bull to replenish the B vitamins that are slaughtered by the Bush. It also provides a nasty, antsy whack of caffeine, which cuts down on those embarrassing 8 p.m. nod-offs.) This lack of space on the coffee table was being caused by a completely ridiculous number of remote control devices.

To my neo-Luddite horror, I discovered that there were no less than five of the demonic little bastards lying there. Five! One for the TV, one for the VHS, one for the DVD, one for the tuner and one for the satellite. This was more than just an ordinary bunch of remotes, even more than a passel. This unholy display qualified as a full-fledged gang of gizmos, a gaggle of gadgets, hanging around on my table like malevolent, battery-sucking thugs.

It was time for action. I arranged them all in one corner of the table, using a system of arrangement so finicky, so ultra-tidy, that it could only be called hyper-anal. Once that was accomplished, there was enough space to negotiate a successful landing of the Red Bush.

I was then struck by the sobering knowledge that I may well have to sell my crock pot, bread machine and an occasional pint of blood to keep these beaming tyrants fully equipped with the life-sustaining AA and AAA batteries they’re gonna need in order to insure that my ever-softening backside will remain in constant, continuous contact with the comfy cushions of my new VibraLounger (featuring the patented Glute-tingler). I mean, heavens to Betsy (whoever she is), the thought of getting up and actually touching the play button on the DVD or VHS player is about as fathomable to the contemporary mind as the concept of a uniformed man at a gas station checking your oil and wiping your windshield clean for free.

Oh sure, I suppose I could get one of those mega-remotes, those hefty Star Trek-type units that combine all of your doodads into one burly, battery-gobbling hunk. But then again, the act of actually programming one of those brain-scorchers sounds like a perfect way to torture a lovely spring afternoon with a project that will lead directly to a first-rate tantrum involving bulging neck veins and a thundering sledge hammer.

And jeez, I don’t wanna go mad just yet.