Return to Opinion

My TV's remote has been sucked up by a black hole

By Terry Horne

(June 7) I remember learning about black holes in an astronomy class I took in college. The professor said no one had ever seen one, but scientific evidence told us they existed. I can't remember his name or I would call him to let him know that I have a black hole at my house.

Black holes are masses of dense matter that suck everything around into its center because of its powerful gravity. Whatever goes in is never seen again. To parents, black holes are usually associated with 2-year-olds.

My youngest daughter officially turns two on Saturday but started the so-called Terrible Twos at least three months ago. She is into everything and at this point it is questionable whether our home will survive this stage.

I don't know exactly where in our house this black hole is located. Our daughter knows, however. She sees that something new is sucked in every day. Most of it is trivial stuff like a single sock or a toy. Once we thought the telephone was sucked in but we found it a couple of days later.

The biggest loss is the television controller. This has been traumatic because I'm a master at sitting on the couch flipping through all 50-some cable channels in 30 seconds or less. But I'm not just a sprinter. I'm also famous for marathon channel switching. My personal record is 30 minutes of channel switching with no more than six consecutive seconds stopped on any particular channel.

Now I actually have to get off the couch, walk to the television and bend over while pushing the button. I've heard this is how it was when television first appeared in American homes. It is hard to believe that television viewing prospered under those conditions.

The missing controller has drastically cut back on channel switching at our home. As a result I've thought about giving up television. I now realize it was the switching that gave me pleasure, not the programming.

My wife seems unduly happy about this development. She makes comments about how nice it is to sit down and watch a program through its entirety without rapid flashes across the screen every five minutes or so. I'm suspicious that maybe in this particular case my 2-year-old is innocent.

I'm concerned about this because it has occurred to me that maybe my wife now knows where the black hole is in our house. And that other things that I own that she doesn't approve of could be destined for the black hole.

My 1982 Kawasaki 750cc motorcycle is parked in the garage and I keep it locked. It weighs some 600 pounds so I think it is safe.

But one of my favorite sweatshirts is missing and I'm pretty sure it is in the black hole. It had a message across the front: "Rules for a Good Marriage. Rule No. 1: The man is always right. Rule No. 2: When the man is wrong, refer back to Rule No. 1."

All this is making me paranoid. I'm now sleeping with my two Big Bertha's and my wife's not happy about it. I told her I have to keep an eye on them because other men covet them. But the truth is I'm worried she'll deposit them in the black hole. (Just to clarify, Big Bertha's are a brand of very expensive golf clubs.)

My wife denies she knows the whereabouts of the black hole. Maybe I should believe her. But she and my daughter always look at each other and wink when I start lamenting the loss of my precious controller.

Terry Horne is publisher of the Exponent and Telegram. His column appears every Sunday.