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Technology November 2019

DVR Madness

By Jody Lebel

"Read! How can you read? Don't you want to know what happened to the naked people in the jungle?" I yelled at his retreating back. I finally settled on removing the movies with the happy thought that I can always buy the DVDs.

Hi, my name is Jody and I’m a DVR junkie. It’s okay, I’m in a program now.

It started innocently enough. My favorite chef show was on the same night that my granddaughter had a school function. I asked my husband to take my place so I could see my show.

"Why don't you set the DVR," he suggested.

"I don't know how to do that,” I admitted. I’m no rocket scientist. Truth be told, I never understood the Dewey Decimal system.

"I'll show you how. It’s easy," he said. “Do you want just tonight's show or all the episodes?"

Did he say all the episodes? My mind did a little happy dance. "Yes, all of them," I opted, a little breathily. I admit I have a tiny crush on the chef. He was right. It was easy. Later that night when the house was still, I got to watch my show. Then next week there was movie I wanted to catch but it didn’t air until the wee hours of the morning. With a few clicks, it became mine. Then came the episodes where people live in a house all summer – it’s on every blessed day. And don’t forget the stranded–on-an-island social game. I could sit down whenever I wanted and find out who got voted off. I became giddy with the possibilities. I quickly figured out how to fast forward through the commercials, a powerful moment indeed. My fingers flew over the resume, start over, and save keys. Everything but deleted.

I found myself eyeing the clock around the dinner hour, anxious for my time to begin. Most nights I’d trudge to the bedroom around 4 a.m. and collapse in a satisfied heap. I made it a point to never sleep on the couch. That would send a message to my husband that I was out of control. And I wasn’t. Uh-uh. Not at all.

All was well – dark circles under my eyes be damned – until one day the remote wouldn't respond. I went flying into the den and with trembling fingers handed it to my husband. “What's wrong?” I asked, fearful that my beloved clicker, my portal to the world of housewives gone mad and bakeries that needing saving, might be broken.

Nothing's wrong, you're just full. You have to delete some shows.”“Delete some shows?” I shook my head in utter disbelief. “No, no, I can't do that." I shot him the slitty-eyed look of death. “You never told me it could get full.”

He turned from his computer screen, and with an apparent new insight took in the total package of his DVR-addicted wife. "Calm down,” he said. “Simply get rid of some of the older ones you've already seen."

"But I might want to see them again," I reasoned, immediately dismissing his suggestion. "Can't you call the cable company and buy more space?”

He raised his eyebrows.

I tried to blackmail him. “If you loved me, you’d do it.”

Stunning me with his brutal look of dismissal, he slapped the remote in my hand and in a tough-love gesture pointed to the door. “Just go do it."

I spent an agonizing hour flipping through the list, trying to decide what shows to kill. That's what it felt like: murder. This one? No, that has that cute dog scene. This one? No, the sisters have a huge fight in that one. My blood pressure spoke to me, pounding an alarm in my head. Maybe the DVR should come with a warning from the Surgeon General. I mean for those weak, pathetic people, you know?

My husband, the traitor, came and stood behind me. "What about the show where those people hoard everything?"

I gasped.

"Okay, how about the lady that rescues all those cats?"

"No, not her," I cried.

"Do you want me to do it for you?" he whispered seductively in my ear.

I clutched the remote to my chest. "Don't you touch this," I growled. He backed up with his hands in the air. "Okay, then I'm off to bed to read."

"Read! How can you read? Don't you want to know what happened to the naked people in the jungle?" I yelled at his retreating back. I finally settled on removing the movies with the happy thought that I can always buy the DVDs.

That night I dreamt about being stranded on an island with the losing chef who couldn’t even filet the fish that the hoarding lady pulled out from the back of her packed and moldy fridge, but all was okay because the cat lady’s felines devoured them whole while I tippy-toed down the runway to accept the award for being the last comic standing.

I needed an intervention.

A few days later at breakfast I plopped the remote in the middle of the table and, with a determined tight-lipped gesture, told my husband to delete all the shows but this week’s lineup. I glared at him, secretly ashamed that I had been hiding the remote in my underwear drawer for a few days so he wouldn’t mess with it.

When I got home from shopping, to my horror I found that he had deleted everything.

“Everything?” I gasped. My world tilted at a dangerous pitch.

“I could tell that’s what you really wanted,” he said. When I started rushing towards him in what some might perceive as a menacing fashion he quickly added, “What you really needed.”

Before he could escape, I flung my arms around his neck and didn’t let go for a full minute. “You saved me. You’re my hero,” I whispered.

“And,” he added smugly, “I put a parental control on there with a password, so you can’t have a relapse.”

I pulled away from the monster that my husband had become. “You did what?” I yelled as he scrambled to the safety of his den.

“Someday you’ll thank me for it,” he said through the door that he was holding firmly. I deduced he was holding it firmly because I put all my weight on it trying to get in to strangle him.

Now I’m only allowed to tape the chef show. I bet the chef doesn’t have parental control over his wife. I’m still in step 2 – recovery – or as I call it: deep resentment. But I’m working it one day at a time.

My girlfriend told me about a game she plays online. Something called Candy Crush. I think I’ll try it. It’s just a game so that’s probably safe, right?


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