06/16/2015 03:39 pm ET | Updated Jun 16, 2016

Confessions of a Serial Songwriter: For Father's Day--Give Him the Control


Man's best friend is not his dog. It's the remote control.

When my hubby and I are in bed watching TV he has to hold the remote. If I have it, he flaps the back of his hand on the mattress between us. That's code for: "give it to me." Truth is...he has superior fast forwarding skills, channel surfing abilities and volume adjusting reflexes. He knows where all the buttons are and can manipulate them masterfully in the dark.

But when I ask him to show me how to switch the input from TV to DVD...or how to access Netflix or Amazon, he shows me so fast that I can't quite grasp the moves. On the rare occasion he's agreed to slow down so that I can see what he's doing, admittedly, I've forgotten it all the next day. And when that happens, I press (many) random buttons in frustration which results in an hour's worth of husbandly damage control in order to get the whole system back to normal. :(

So perhaps it is a waste of time trying to show me the ropes. Fair enough. But if that's the case, he'll have to get used to his cell lighting up on poker night or in the middle of a golf game to talk me through the steps to "The Bridges Of Madison County."

I've asked my honey (nicely) on several occasions to write down the choreography. I've requested it as a birthday gift and a Christmas gift. The advantage to writing out the instructions is he'd only have to do it once. No more embarrassing interruptions at the crap table. In addition, it would save him a trip to the jewelry store or He wouldn't have to go to the mall. Or spend a dime. But he won't write it down. And I know he can. I know because we have a vacation property and he wrote it down (and laminated it!) for the renters.

I confess, I'm somewhat of an efficiency freak and I might be inclined to brag about how many things I get done in the course of a given day or how effortlessly I multitask...and so I suspect it brings him satisfaction when there's something I can not do. He says this isn't so. But I think it is so. Even though he won't admit it.

Keeping the remote to himself gives him absolute control of something. In a world (or household) where basically (I like to think) I have it all under control (no pun intended) this is something he can undoubtedly do better. And if I learn how to master the moves what will there be left for him to do better than me? Not even that.

Maybe he secretly likes the idea that I need his help. Certainly it's nice to be needed. But there are so many things for which I do need him--things that are way higher up on the need his love, strength, calm in chaos...his knowing what's really important in life (and of course, scooping the cat litter). But these are things he can't see.

The remote control is something he can feel in his hands and see with his eyes. It occupies space and possesses mass. Maybe it's a man's way of trying to hold on to things that disappear. Like hair. Or abs. Or little girls who grow up and go to college. Who knows what the psychology is?

Have you seen that "Modern Family" episode in which Claire can't figure how to use the remote and Phil bets her that he can teach Haley (their not so sharp daughter) in a matter of minutes? Because, as Phil asserts, it's so simple. Well Phil, it's really not. In more ways than one.

Here you go, honey. They're all yours.

Happy Fathers Day.


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