Janet Combs

Janet Combs

I can foresee a day when you can use your audio receiver remote to flush your toilets. For all I know, this day may have already arrived; I probably just haven’t read up to that section of the instruction manual yet.

Flushing a toilet is not a difficult thing, nor is it something you typically need to do from a distance; however, it seems that my new remote has a number of largely unnecessary features.

For example, one button turns the television screen a neon shade of green and all of the actors into ghostly silhouettes. This is convenient if you like to watch the television as if you are on an acid trip—not necessarily a bad way to experience the evening news these days. One button turns the screen a peaceful blueish hue with no images, but projects the sound nonetheless through the speakers in the adjacent room, or “Zone 2,” as we now refer to our living room. This provides a sort of “imaginary television” experience for a refreshing change of pace.

Here’s what we have learned in the week since setting up our new receiver about these two key remote buttons: don’t press them.

We just purchased a new audio receiver, in part because we saw a model we had previously looked at in an electronics store on sale online during Amazon Prime Day. If you are teetering on the precipice of a purchase, Amazon Prime Day will surely push you over the edge. Last year I scored a water-filtering pitcher at an amazing low price I could have purchased it for on any given day at the local Walmart.

We were in the market for a new audio receiver not because our existing one didn’t work or was of a poor quality, but because technology had outpaced its features. We needed one that used HDMI Arc cables for a two-way flow of sound from our television to our stereo. I could provide further detail, but jasoew po owecw eikjn. Forgive me, I dozed off while trying to type some interesting sentences about HDMI ARC cables.

The key thing to know about HDMI ARC cables is that either your television comes equipped to handle them, or it does not. If your television is more than 3 or 4 years old, you’ll need to retrieve your original instruction manual from the bottom of your neighbor’s birdcage. Alternatively, you will have to call customer service.

Why? Because the features of your new technological components are often described in incomprehensible verbiage, best translated by customer service employees in a foreign land. So keep calling the manufacturer’s customer service people, of both your old television and your new receiver, until their representatives start thinking about calling a help hotline themselves—1-800-SUICIDE.

In the end, my husband downloaded the entire instruction manual and read it. I abandoned this task after the first few paragraphs, so riveting they received the seal of approval of both the American Academy of Actuaries and the Official United States Tax Code Preparers. I prefer to learn our new remote’s features by tapping on random buttons and turning the television screen black while starting up the microwave in the adjacent room, flushing the toilets up and down the Grand Strand, and blasting the volume so loud you can hear clear across the ocean in Customer Service.

Thanks to my husband, we now can operate our home entertainment system. I must say, I was of vital assistance today down on the floor level, threading the various cables from the stereo components into the receiver, and tie-wrapping the cords into neat little bundles. This was a calming, non-technological activity that I enjoyed, so please feel free to call me if you need any beads sorted, sheets folded, or envelopes stuffed. You know where to find me—I’ll be in Zone 2, listening to the television.

Janet Combs is a freelance writer living in Georgetown County. Contact her at www.janetfrickecombs.wordpress.com.