The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

October 22, 2006


So my teen-aged son, in a bone-headed early career step on his way to becoming the world's next mega-star lead singer, loses the one pick I found for him to allow him to practise on my guitar.
First it falls into the acoustic guitar. I instruct him to turn the instrument upside down and shake it all around until the pick falls out.
He does that, the pick falls out, but he can't find it. It's gone. Then he drops the guitar on the floor.
I'm thinking can I be like The Who's Peter Townsend and bash it over his head?
I don't.
He's leaving in an hour for a band practice/sleepover at his friend Alex's place. He's in a "pick panic." I'm in a "Don't murder him just yet" dynamic.
They haven't even played a song yet far as I know, but they already have a name for their band: Final Crisis. I'm sending him a not too subtle message that this may be HIS final crisis.
I regain my composure. I start searching for the bag with the other picks I know I have in my apartment. Sift through the drawers. Check out my "junk I can't throw out" container.
Rustle through closets, empty storage boxes, go through the cabinet thingy where I keep all my books, board games, 18 sets of cards, cribbage boards and atlases, etc.
I notice a theme here. I can't find the damn picks, but I sure am finding a lot of remotes. TV remotes, VCR remotes, CD player remotes, generic replacements for those dead remotes.

At the end of it all, I find a total of 12 remotes, all past their prime or at least long ago left on my own personal scrap heap of technology. Gasp. It's a veritable Requiem for Remotes, a Testament to TV, and more.

Back to my son for a brief moment. I did find the bag of picks in my guitar case and he was able to get away for his gig with Final Crisis, although I have urged him to reconsider that name with his band mates.

I'm sure when he returns none of the five picks I found for him will return with him. But at least he can't say I didn't supply him with everything he needed when he left here.

But these remotes...there's something eerily strange about seeing them all bunched together, passed by, discharged of their duties, made obsolete by the purchase of other TVs or CD players or because they didn't work any more.

Just lying around, warm hands holding them, no thumbs pressing their up and down channel buttons, their mute controls, their on-off switches. They're dead, but they're still with me.

They haven't had a proper burial.

So I've lined them up next to each other.

I'm singing Amazing Grace.

May the Remotes Rest In Peace.


  1. This is eerie. My older son turns 14 on Friday (an almost Hallowe'en baby) and all he wants is an electric guitar/amp which I will probably buckle and buy for him tomorrow. Meantime, he would forget his head if it wasn't screwed on. He had a pile of lime green picks for the acoustic and I think there's one left. Maybe it's because he's so tall -- the air is a bit thin up there and his brain is affected -- at least that's the excuse I use (he takes after his overachiever-in-the-height-dept mother).

    Those remotes kill me. It's like that secret stash of obsolete computer components I discovered exists in every self-respecting basement -- when I needed some for a project.

  2. if he keeps picking at it, it will never heal. should i await final crisis in the hottest one hundred next year, or is it more a band that wont be understood in there own time as their rhythymic methods transcend genres.

    a moments silence for the remotes, CIP... click in peace

  3. ww, your gentle respect for the remotes is noted. now throw them all away--every one. i have piles of old laptop wires and mouses and want you to tell me the same thing.

    for you and andrea: here's a tip for parents of teenagers. it's a book called "get out of my life but first can you drive me and cheryl to the mall" or something like that. it is a bible to remind you it's not you and it's not even your kids. it's hormones among other things.


  4. Andrea:

    You're going to have to give me some consumer tips on an electric GEE-tar because that's what my guy wants next.

    He couldn't even play a chord until this weekend. And he liked my green picks too and the brown marbley one.

    Of course he would forget his head if it wasn't screwed on. It's the same with all guys, me included.

    My son isn't incredibly tall yet -- I'm no towering model of maleness -- but I think adolescent boys opt not to use their brains much because they're getting acquainted with other organs.

    Like their skin, liver, kidneys, heart...

    Now, what should I do with these remotes, keeping in mind I still have three functioning ones...


    Final Crisis hasn't plucked a note or recorded a tune far as I know, but they DO have their own website.

    I'm sure it's just a passing phase, but he hasn't been so excited about something in quite a while, so I'm already warning him about Paul McCartney's latest troubles...

    C.I.P. is right.


    I can't throw anything away. I figure someone's going to pay big bucks for these 300 years from now.

    You mentioned that book once before, actually. I've been too stuck in this sea of male and female hormones to wade through and get to the bookstore.

  5. Aah... don't be too hard on's a musician thing. I was married to a musician for a long, long time. They never grow up, but in the nicest way. ;-)

    I’d find picks in the bed, in the dishwasher, in my closet(??). Once bought him a new Les Paul that he'd talked endlessly of for years, which "someone" dented within 3-days.

    And those remotes...they breed while we sleep.

  6. Bibi:

    All that stuff was just thoughts going through my mind, with a grimaced smile on my face at the time. I getcha.

    I'm not too hard on him. He needs -- even wants -- the sometimes tough, gruff "what are you doin?"

    I'll just have to keep pickin' away at him, gently like. Next week, he might want to be a computer games programmer again...

  7. LOL @RRIP!

    He plays the guitar? WOW! Train him all the way to stardom WW..I'd buy his records ;-)


  8. Has anyone ever told you that you're slightly creepy?

  9. Love the sound of the guitar in the "Remote Control" music vid. Good choice.

  10. Who saw so many remotes in one place. Could you perhaps put them in a box and bury them in the back garden?

  11. Keshi:

    I wouldn't quite call it being able to play the guitar. I think I need to get him into lessons.

    (I've already got him in singing lessons).



    Uh, lotsa people. What's your point? You're talking about the remotes, I presume...


    Thanks. Not my kinda music, really (although I love acoustic guitar) but found it on MySpace, so...


    I could bury the bunch with a tombstone out in my little patch of grass before the ground freezes.

    But the squirrels would probably dig it up and just laugh en masse.

  12. Farewell dearest of all electrical technology. May you find peace and happiness in the great beyond.

    Ashes to ashes, plastic to plastic, rest in peace...or pieces.

  13. Hallelujah, Sistuh A!

    I should put on Bowie's big tune...

  14. We have 9 guitars in our house, two are electric, one acoustic electric and the rest acoustic only.

    We also have a piano and two flutes and two keyboards. Can you tell we're musical here? My hubby, son and oldest daughter jam on their guitars and it's so fun to listen to them all.

    I love that my son told me that 'no girl is as important as my guitar in my life'. I'm holding out hope that he keeps that feeling for a few more years, first date notwithstanding.

    Also we have a remote graveyard in our home as well. For some reason it's in my nightstand table. Sad, that.

  15. heyy man read my reply-comment to ya in my blog :)

    Nitey nite then!


  16. Pam:

    Hate to say it, but I figure the moment your son first feels his motor runnin' for a girl, that geetar's back in its case for a while...or he'll be strummin' ballads for her.

    Music's a powerful thing, but some things come right out of the blue and tug hard.

    Are you ever going to clear out that night table? Their corpses must be rotting by now...

  17. Kesh:

    Yeah, it's just about nitey nite time but have gone to your blog and posted a response...


  18. yep I saw that and I replied.

    LOL I wont let u sleep tonite.


  19. A plethora of remotes is a true sign of a cluttered mind. An indication of one who was hanging on to the past and neglecting to confront any mental housecleaning.

    Harm-avoidance is of course a natural preoccupation, a science really, of our species and nothing to be ashamed of.
    My suggestion is to check all of your other drawers and see what else you should turf.

    Kids actually love boundaries because they have zero self control over their curiosity to see how much they can get away with...
    the word infinity comes to mind... they will extend them to the end of the known universe...
    and beyond.

  20. very wierd!
    so what did you do with them all? did they become part of the "stuff to toss"?

  21. so- can your son play?

  22. passed by, discharged of their duties, made obsolete...

    Just lying around, warm hands holding them, no thumbs pressing their up and down channel buttons, their mute controls, their on-off switches

    I never thought I'd be identifying with a remote!

  23. This is suppose to be a funeral but I can't help but laugh out loud!

    WW you seem like a terrific father.

  24. HE:

    Thank you Dr. Seuss. Quite astute and true, I'm sure.

    And so what if I told you I also have not thrown out pix of old girlfriends or cards I received from them or was going to send?

    That I have three sets of Phase 10 games, three cribbage boards, about 18 decks of cards, books I read long ago but will never read again?

    Letters sent to me 30 years ago by my little brother or little sister when I was up north or in India?

    As you say, all mental clutter, but clutter I want. I can dispense with the remotes and jeans from 20 years ago though, I figure...

    You right about Ev and boundaries, for sure...he and M want to know I'm going to be the Overlord and Guardian, helping them along and putting those controls on but still being the enabler most of all...


    I did the same with the remotes that I do with everything else in my life...I plunked them altogether in a little pile in my bedroom. They're still there while I contemplate, sometime next year, what I'll do with them.

    And no, I don't think he can play, although he's getting initial tips from his buddy, who can play.

    I've got him in singing lessons already. Now I'll probably have to get him into guitar lessons too...


    Ah, ma cherie Cherry...that passage was indeed intended to be sensual/sexual!

    While I can't say for sure that I thought of you when I wrote it, I also can't say I'm surprised you picked up on it the way you did.

    If you were one of those remotes lying on the floor right behind me, I could press a few buttons...

    But might you need some fresh batteries first? (I've got those too)


    You have won a complimentary CD with the hit title song, Requiem for My Remotes!

    This offer is not available at any store! You have won just for tuning into WW's blog and reading this post!!!

    Thanks. I try.

  25. Do you keep these pics of old girlfriends in your wallet or beside your bed? Are the cards pressed into a scrap book that you take out and look at of an evening or whenever you have a quiet few moments? Have you ever let new or current girlfriends witness this behaviour? It could explain a lot. is all I'm saying.

  26. Ah, Cherry, you perfectly prickly little thing (prickly and prodding is good)...

    Each and every relationship with women is unique and unto itself.

    Some are forgettable, some are very memorable, all hold some place. None are disposable.

    Such things are never in my wallet or at my bedside, because they are in the past.

    Much like many of the women I know, almost all of whom have a chest for such things (doh!), they are stowed away.

    Mine -- the few pictures or emails or notes or luvey-duvey little cards or books or what have you -- are for the most part inside a 12-inch by eight-inch plastic see-through container with a green lid, along with a bunch of other things I hold dear.

    I have to go through that bin every now and again to find things I need, and it is then I stumble upon those things and can bring back into my consciousness the memories of those people and events and times that at that moment were part of my life.

    Would I want current girlfriends or anyone else to see me doing that? Probably not, but I would have nothing to hide.

    And what would that then explain a lot about, pray tell?

    How bout you? Do you have such a "chest?"

  27. Can I send you my non-working remotes, all 17 of them? You can open up a remote museum.

  28. Gautami:

    You're brilliant! Never thought of that. Sure, send 'em along!


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