Rules to Help you Find your Remote Control Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Rules to Help you Find your Remote Control

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These days, so much of our time is saved by the use of our remote controls that when we lose them all sense of time management goes out the window as we spend disproportionate amounts of time trying to find them. Remote controls change our TV settings, operate our video recorder and sound system, dim the lights and shut the blinds, and even open the garage door and front gate. So when we lose them, life seems to become so much more of an effort. Here, therefore, are some rules to help you hunt for that elusive remote control.

Rule One - Do a Manual Change Before you Hunt

Remote controls are labour- and time-saving devices: with them we no longer even have to make the effort of movement to change the channel or whatever. Luckily, however, most devices which have a remote control still have a manual override system involving a series of buttons on the item in question. To achieve the desired change of settings you actually have to get out of the seat and move over to do this, but because you are about to get out of your seat to look for the remote anyway, the extra effort is none too taxing.

Rule Two - Don't Just Sit There

If you cannot see the remote from the luxury of your own seat, and it is not readily visible down the side of the cushion, you are going to have to get up to do a proper search. Once you get up, you may as well manually change the settings that you wanted to change with the remote - see rule one. The reasons for getting up are two-fold. Firstly, it will save you the risk of injury, and secondly, it will save you time.

Injuries you might sustain by searching for the remote control from the seat:

  • Bumps and bruises - As you contort you may fall off the chair onto whatever is littering the floor around your chair.

  • Hand stuck down back of chair - You may get your hand stuck behind you on the springs which support your chair.

  • Scalding - if you were drinking or eating a hot substance while sitting, it could be knocked over as you carry out your search, and cause scald injuries (quite possibly to sensitive parts of your anatomy).

  • Cuts and abrasions - if your hand is not stuck it might still scrape against sharp objects, such as the springs, lacerating your hand.

Therefore for reasons of health and safety it is recommended that you stand up and put down any hot foodstuffs or sharp implements in a safe position before you begin your search.

Moreover, by standing up you will save time. If you can't immediately see the remote, a sit-down search will probably not locate it and you'll just have to search the area more thoroughly again while stood up.

Rule Three - Retrace your Steps

If the remote is not in its normal position, try to relive the time since you last saw it. Did you take it to the kitchen or bathroom during the last ad break? If so, it is highly likely that the remote is still there. Did you set it down in the bathroom while otherwise engaged, or did you not have a hand free to bring it back from the kitchen with your munchies? If it is still not there, then drastic times call for drastic measures, and you need to follow rule four.

Rule Four - Undertake a Thorough Search

Admit it: most people, when just sitting around lazily with the remote control and gently vegetating, will accumulate a lot of junk, such as the newspaper or book they are reading, empty food wrappers, discarded clothes, drained bottles or empty glasses. The remote may also have found its way into this general mish-mash of rubbish. There is a tendency for all manner of things that have gone missing to end up in this black hole of non-descript nothingness, and it may well contain your remote control. Check this and other accumulated piles of stuff on your floor in a thorough and systematic way.

Rule Five - Check your Partner, Child and/or Pet

If one or other of these has an inane grin on their face it might be worth checking if they have stashed the remote away somewhere to get your attention or wind you up. If it is the pet then chances are that they merely thought it was a plaything: check under the furniture in case the animal has left it there.

The reasons to check whether your child has taken the remote will vary with its age:

  • 0 - 6 months - Parents are not paying attention and the child is trying to use it as a dummy1.

  • 6 months - 2 years - It's the right shape for chewing on. Tell-tale signs include toothmarks or a grinning child sitting there with a remote control in its mouth.

  • 2 - 5 years - It's funny watching mummy and daddy bang their head on the wall until they eventually find it.

  • 5 - 10 years - The child will have lost something which they hope will turn up during their parents' frantic search for the remote.

  • 10 - 15 years - Parents disapprove of all interesting and fun programmes and the children will hoard the remote to prevent anyone from switching the channel. Never underestimate the sheer selfishness of a young adolescent...

  • 15 - 20 years - Parents do not have the level of authority required to have access to an essential piece of equipment like a remote any more.

  • 20 - 25 years - Parents do not understand how to use this piece of equipment, they can't even programme the video, and they probably think Phil Collins is the height of cool...

  • 25 years+ - The child has removed it in case their parents injure themselves with it. Closely related to rule two above.

If, however, it is your partner who has hidden the remote control, there are far more significant questions to be asked before you begin the search:

  • Are they upset at the amount of time you are sitting watching the TV?

  • Have they taken the remote so that you spend some time talking to them?

  • If you get it back off them will they go off in a huff and remain silent?

  • Do you in fact wish to watch different programmes?

  • Do you wish to avoid a fight?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, carefully consider whether retrieving the remote control right now is really worth the hassle. Try alternatives like an evening's conversation, not having a fight, and waking up alive in the morning. Remote controls may be labour-saving devices but they may also be a bone of contention.

Rule Six - Check on Top of the Unit the Remote Control Is For

This is quite often one of the last places you look for the remote control and is therefore very likely to be where it actually is. The urge to leave the remote control so close to the manual controls is a rather foolish one, but we have a subconscious tendency to tidy up after ourselves the whole time; maybe we simply decide the spiritual home of the remote is with its parent unit.

Rule Seven - You Always Find the Remote in the Last Place you Look

It is a curious, yet entirely logical, rule of this world that the last place you look is always the place the missing remote is to be found. After this, tests have conclusively shown that the subject will always return to their seat and carry on as normal.

There has, as yet, been no way to make the last place one looks into the first place one looks as well.

1Pacifier for our American Researchers.

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