Thursday, September 24, 2020

A tug of war for the remote control

War is such a tedious act. With it comes the inevitable deaths, bloodshed and that powerless sense of feeling that overcomes us humans of not knowing for how long the conflict will drag on.

Just ask the American public, cringing over news of a possible troop surge to Afghanistan. Eight years on, still fighting the same enemy. If that’s not tiring enough, then I don’t know what is.

Anyway, that’s kiddie’s play compared to the fervent defence we daily have to put up in our own kind of war.
A little gadget called the remote control is the source of many a conflicts in many homes. Enough to cause a flair of tempers, one needs just press the ‘right’ buttons and all hell breaks loose.

Is it genetically encoded that men and women should nitpick over who has rights to the remote control and engage in a never-ending war to satisfy their viewing pleasure? For most men, watching sports on the telly undoubtedly is their time to rule the roost. Huddled on the couch with friends, sipping on ice-cold beers and constant outbursts of “uuh’s and aah’s” in support of their favourite team, sports give men the perfect excuse to be in charge. Of course, the remote control finds a place among the fellows just in case any prowling female might be tempted to butt in and start flipping through the channels.

Women on the other hand, seem to know that this male impudence of holding onto the remote control for dear life lasts only while their man’s team is winning. For cricketing fans like myself, the South African cricket team’s choking performance in the ICC Cup last month had us concede defeat in the war and hand over the remote control. Dare I mention the pitiless smile across my woman’s face that said, “I told you love, bring it back”.

Bring it back? Oh God, bring it back for what? For more cocktails of soapie viewing where backstabbing and infidelity are the order of the day as in the Bold and the Beautiful, Generations and Days of Our Lives. Or maybe so that women can connect with their emotional side and reflect on how true love conquers all. Bland as it may sound, the female need for the remote control is to seek out their own lives being played on TV and find some sort of inspiration. Where Romeo whisks Juliet into a lifetime of bliss and romance.

For what it’s worth, remote control wars can never end. Daily there will be casualties and bloodshed. Every day, men will reject being put in a box being made to conform and turned into Ridge (The Bold and Beautiful).

Equally, women too will snub the escapism of sports and extreme television shows, seen as an excuse by men to run away from relationships and love. The ‘only’ things that matter in life.

A truce is possible, but ending the war itself, I wouldn’t rush to go that far. Why with the cash-strapped SABC repeating programmes these days, maybe that’s just where the truce will come in. There really is no use fighting over the remote control only to watch something that one has seen countless times over.

A truce indeed, no matter how short-lived.

With news of a possible bailout coming the SABC’s way in the not too distant future, I will be keeping a close eye on proceedings as it surely marks the spark of fresh tensions in the house.
I’m well prepared for this next round, having stocked extensively on old batteries for the remote control for use by my ‘enemy’, while I keep the new and working batteries secretly hidden away.

Call me unfair but, my friends, this is war.

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