My universal remote control does not control the universe although it would like to. It has 46 buttons and controls most everything else, including me.

After some trial-and-error experimenting (I once completely muted China), I believe I have finally figured out what each of the buttons on the remote actually does. This should help you.

Power: You need this to be able to turn on the television and also to laud it over the television, just in case it thinks it’s a smart TV and better than you because it has automatically adjustable brightness.

Volume: Makes your hair fuller.

Channel: If you put your hands on this button, you can sense the hovering spirit of “The Golden Girls.” You might want to let go very quickly.

Zoom: This button enables you to look very closely at why you are spending so much time watching television, particularly cable networks focusing on housewives from Beverly Hills, when you could be doing something useful, like traveling to Beverly Hills.  

Input: I believe this is a request, asking you to offer your opinion on why every time you obtain a device that is supposed to simplify your life it actually complicates your life.

Aux: A group of birds, like an exaltation of larks but not as poetic, that hangs out together waiting for the interminable pre-game show to be over and the real game to begin.  

Tel: Tel can be shorthand for a number of possibilities, including television, telephone or Telluride, which is a town in Colorado that paid significant marketing money to get its name on all the universal remotes.  

Don’t tel: This is not the tel button.

Don’t ask. I have no idea what this button does, and I’m afraid to ask anyone who might then tweet about it, embarrassing me in front of the three people I know who actually waste their free time tweeting.   

FAV: Short for favorite, this is the button that reminds you that all your favorite shows were canceled more than a decade ago and replaced with reality shows where people eat worms while ballroom dancing with retired football players.

Defrost: Not as efficient as just putting the chicken breasts in the meat bin overnight, but will work in a pinch, particularly in the summer.

Fast forward: If you are using the television to be something else other than a television, like a DVD player or game system, the fast forward button will enable you to get all the way to Thursday completely oblivious to everything and only have a couple of days more of work to go before the weekend.

Stop: Yes, please.

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