are way too many options out there for me today… and I’m pretty
sure I’m not alone. As society advances and moves… ahem… forward,
it seems like more and more things don’t work as well as they
did yesterday. Some would argue I’m just resistant to change.
I say change isn’t always for the best.
technology for instance.
controls as a specific.
about all of us have at least one universal remote in the house.
I think I have about seventy-five. Let’s see, one came with the
television… another with the DirecTV… another with the DVD player…
and yet another with the VCR. I also found one downstairs from
the cable box. All of those were designed not only for the unit
they were packaged and sold to me with, but also have the listing
of codes that can be programmed into it to operate other things.
problem is… they never work. Well, almost never. And even if they
do, they don’t do everything they should.
I’ll give you an example. In fact, I’ll give you two... DirecTV
and my VCR.
over two years ago, we brought DirecTV to our house. We love it…
although I do need to note that Tigg’s enthusiasm for the Sunday
Ticket package of NFL games isn’t quite as strong as mine. In
August of 2003 we went on vacation. One of the two dogs… I’m guessing
Travis… decided to eat our DirecTV remote.
we have a universal remote for our television set (I should say
had a universal remote... Travis ate that one too and we had to
order a replacement). But DirecTV had switched to a new brand
for producing its receivers, and that brand wasn’t compatible
with the television’s codes. I don’t know about you… but those
so-called learn features where you can teach a remote to do certain
things are way too complex to try and figure out, and… usually
don’t work anyway (which is my point).
do I mean by that? Well…
use the universal remote to run my VCR. The play button works.
So do the fast forward, rewind and record buttons. But, the menu
options don’t work. Any time the power goes out, I need to find
the original remote to set the clock. Any time I want to set the
timer, I need the original remote to set the program details.
The universal remote never is an exact duplicate of the original…
it’s missing a button, or it only works for the main features.
my DirecTV remote that Travis ate? I did find one that worked
for most of the options, but it isn’t perfect.
VCR options? I need to keep the original around.
the technology that supposedly allows me to do so much… such as
having just one remote for everything instead of five… is flawed.
I didn’t start this article to talk to you about remote controls.
I started it because of my dirty laundry. Seriously… and literally…
my dirty laundry.
like to keep things simple. The talk about the remotes? Well,
it was intended to point out that sometimes the more you try to
improve things, the more you simply create other problems, that
often are more complicated than just dealing with the inconvenience.
I left for college, I had never done laundry that often. So in
trying to take in my mother’s advice, while not ruining everything
I had in the process, I developed my own way of washing my clothes.
idea was actually pretty simple. Anything that would pick up fuzz
if it was tossed in the dryer with towels was a lintable. Anything
that could be put in the dryer with towels and wouldn’t pick up
fuzz was a non-lintable. And, anything that could be washed with
bleach was a white.
I thought so to. But, just like the progression found in the history
of universal remotes, the process for doing laundry has advanced
over the years.
2 was the first item as I recall… safe for colors. That one was
ok I suppose. But from there we went from plain detergents to
detergents with bleach, detergents with bleach alternatives, additive
free detergents, and extra strength detergents. Would you believe
that Tide calls its products the “fabric care network”? They do.
got a good laugh out of that one too.
it’s Cheer that has me upset right now. Not because I don’t like
Cheer... it’s absolutely fine. No... it’s Cheer Dark Formula to
anyone be against them making their regular Cheer better at preventing
the fading of colors? Probably not. I guess this is special Cheer
though... and regular Cheer shouldn’t be confused with Cheer Dark.
They actually say on their web site that Cheer Dark is “great
for your everyday wash.”
is? Then why isn’t it just new and improved Cheer? Why do I have
to stand in the laundry detergent aisle, look at all of the different
brands of Tide, Cheer and so on, deciding between them all? Why
do they want me buying several different kinds?
don’t get me wrong… I understand some of the differences. Allergies
for instance. I understand that many companies take certain allergies
into account when making different kinds of detergents. That’s
as with the promise of a universal remote, I can’t help but feel
that I’m the stupid one here. “You idiot… you’ve actually been
doing laundry all along and were quite happy with the results
provided from one bottle and a box of dryer sheets? You need to
have powdered detergent to treat the mud stains and liquid detergent
to pretreat stains. Everyone else knows this. Get some bleach
for your whites, but have some alternatives for bleaching your
colors too. Liquid fabric softener for the stuff that doesn’t
go in the dryer, and sheets for the stuff that does.”
does the list end?
never ends. It’s just another of the bigger and better mentality.
The same mentality that brings us “new and improved” (and the
subsequent joke… if it’s new, how can it be improved… and if it’s
improved how can it be new…). But that’s missing the point. In
reality what they are saying to us is that it’s better.
a universal remote. Try it. You’ll be happier.
another thing to think of while doing your laundry. But keep buying
the original stuff too, even though this will work fine on everything
ago there was an episode of M*A*S*H where a visitor came
to the 4077th. I believe it was Alan Alda’s father, Robert, playing
the part. (The research I did shows Robert Alda playing the role
of Dr. Anthony Borelli in an episode called “The Consultant.”)
The visitor kept trying to get Hawkeye to do things differently…
from his clothes to his drink. He did it with most of the people
at the camp and kept saying things such as “…better, right?” when
they tried it. And as I recall, they all got very tired of it.
Some of it was better. Some of it was new. But it didn’t change
the fact that for most things… from keeping warm to getting drunk…
they liked things pretty much the way they were.
I shouldn’t be so resistant to them. But please don’t tell me
that the new things are better when they don’t do most of what
the old things did. Please don’t tell me things are improved when
they still want to sell me the old stuff too. And please don’t
tell me things have to be different when I’m pretty happy with
the way things are.
is great, but I could care less about it when all I want to do
is set my VCR to record Everybody Loves Raymond. Picture-in-picture
buttons are no help with that... and I set the timer far more
Dark… even though the stuff with colorguard was very good and
you should still buy it.
you’ll excuse me… I have three loads of laundry to sort.