Thursday, June 24, 2010

Having a remote control to get us through our lives?

The first machines to be operated by remote control were for military use.  For example, during World War I the Germans developed radio-controlled motorboats to ram enemy ships.  During World War II there were remote-controlled bombs and other remote controlled weapons.  When the wars were over, scientists experimented to find non-military uses for them.  It was in the 1940s when automatic garage-door openers were invented, and it wasn’t until the 1950s that the first TV remote controls were used.  Now I’m hoping scientists will develop a remote control to help get us through our lives. 

There are too many areas of our lives where we don’t have as much control as we should, and it is in these areas where it would be helpful to have a remote control.  For example, wouldn’t it be great to use the “mute” button on the remote to reduce the noise in an especially rowdy restaurant?  Or, to calm those who were engaged in a turbulent and rapidly escalating argument?  We could use the “mute” button to have peace and quiet wherever we found ourselves—just point and click!

In addition to our numerous uses of the “mute” button, think how great it would be to have “fast forward” opportunities?  We see a problem approaching, we simply fast forward our way past it.  Or, when we are feeling tired and stressed, we fast forward through the hard times to a well-rested and comfortable aftermath.  Students could fast forward their way through exams, reports, speeches, and talks with their teachers.  Workers could use the same button to escape deadlines, meetings with superiors, and difficult presentations.  In relationships, the fast-forward button would help us avoid conflicts, disagreements, hostilities, and any potentially antagonistic confrontations.  For men, they could fast forward their lives through boring, repetitious, monotonous work days to those spectacular and unforgettable evenings with their spouse, a favorite sporting event, surfing the Internet, or playing video games.  And women could avoid tedious work days, times with whiny, crying  children, or attendance at required meetings or school activities.  Just watch neighbors mowing their lawns and washing their cars in fast forward. 

In the same way as we would have “fast forward” opportunities, we would have a “reverse” button, too.  Thus, we could go back and enjoy once again, some of the wonderful moments.  How about re-living those times when you thought of exactly the right words to say, or enjoying again an earth-shaking instant of great importance or immense satisfaction (a car accident in which everyone escaped injury, when you asked a partner to marry you, the words you used to win-over a client)?  A reverse button would allow us to go back and savor, once again, a great meal, a magnificent sunset, or a unique artwork or piece of music.  Also, it would permit us to  study situations to see how we could improve, refine, or enhance them—not just to become better people but so that we could build an arsenal of appropriate responses. 

Wouldn’t it be great if the “reverse” button on our remote was actually a “do over” button so that not only would it take us back in time, but it would actually give us as many second chances as we needed?  I wonder, given a chance to re-write our own personal histories, or maybe just specific situations, would we let the same things happen?  Would we make the same mistakes?  Are we so locked into our own realities that things never change? 

Our remote has many different channel selections.  When you notice that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, by pushing a different channel, you can actually experience life on the other side of that barrier?  Is the grass actually greener, or was that just an illusion?  By pushing a different channel, the answer will become clear.  Or, how about walking a mile in another person’s moccasins?  Pushing a different channel will grant you 100% empathy, because you will now be the other person with whom you were empathizing.  And if the shoe doesn’t fit, push the “return” button, and come back to your own reality—refreshed, or perhaps disenchanted, but with a whole new perspective. 

Our remote has a timer, too.  Just as we can set a television to turn itself off at a certain time, we can put time limits on what we experience.  “I can only take just so much of that!”—but now you’ll be able to judge just how much that is, set the timer, and when the timer goes off, whatever it is, comes to a sudden and abrupt end.  I don’t like conflict, but I want to hear what other people have to say.  Set the timer, and give them two minutes to make their case.  I don’t like shopping, but I just want to see what’s available.  Set the timer, and give yourself thirty seconds to survey what’s available—then the picture goes off.  Saves money, too! 

There are three other buttons I want on my remote.  The first is a “slow motion” button.  Life comes at us too quickly.  Sometimes we get too much information too fast.  So you drive into a gas station for directions, you press the slow-motion button to make certain you understand.  You are experiencing a moment of intense pleasure, a moment you know is soon to disappear for some time, press the slow motion button to prolong the gratification.  You want the laughter, joy, or excitement to last just a little longer, so you press the slow-motion button to prolong the carnival ride of contentment and delight. 

Taking the lead from computers, our remote needs a delete button, too, so that we can expunge unfavorable, critical, adverse, hostile, unfriendly, or unflattering events or remarks.  In that way, we never have to be haunted by past circumstances.  Mistakes and errors could be deleted immediately so that our blunders, goofs, bloopers, flubs, and gaffes would never be associated with us or with our history.  We could experiment with our behavior, and if the experiment failed, it would be edited out of our past with a simple “click” as if it never took place. 

The final button we need—this time taken from our word processor—is the cut and paste button.  In this way, we could carry good feelings from one situation to another, especially conditions in desperate need of joy, happiness, or amusement.  We could build new relationships by cutting and pasting from former ones or, in the same way, construct the ideal job. 

 In this age of technology, scientists need not stop with remote-controlled garage-door openers and TVs, invent a remote to help me get through life.  And while you’re at it, put on the remote a number of buttons for future use—so that I can program them whatever way I choose and whenever I need them.  Maybe I’ll program one to make me a very wealthy man, another to bring me many new friends, and a third.....hmmmmmm.....maybe with the third I’ll program it to keep me forever young! 


At the SoberRecovery Community website, the classic Erma Bombeck (just after she learned she was dying of cancer) column, “If I had my life to do over,” is offered.  It is a wonderful, short essay.  Also, I is one that I quoted for more than 20 years in the college lectures I delivered.  I have a copy of the original column for I loved it when I first read it.  Read this one. 

At the devpsy.org website, there are two brief essays on the topic, “If I Had My Life Over - I'd Pick More Daisies.”  One is by Nadine Star and the other by Don Herold.  Both are interesting, fun, and provocative.  They are worth a read. 


Copyright June, 2010, by And Then Some Publishing, LLC.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Essays, SMOERs Words-of-Wisdom, Fridays Laugh, book reviews... And Then Some! Thank you for your comment.