Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall that moving into the age of electronics was supposed to make our lives easier, not harder. Anyone besides me remember that?

Well, here we are some decades later and I can’t seem to get any warm fuzzy feelings about any of this.

Let’s take one small portion of our so-called ‘electronic’ lives.

The all-important, all mystifying always inaccessible remote.

Let me count the ways:

Television (any number of 3-4)

Stereo or MP player

Electronic photo frame

Ceiling fans

Garage door openers

Cell phone locator devices

Various kitchen appliances

These are all that come to mind just off the top of my head. I have all of these in our house.

Do all of these use the same size batteries?

Of course not, that would be too logical and entirely too simple.

No, let’s make it difficult for the end user (you and me).

Some use AA…some use AAA. Others use a square 9 volt. Many of them use various sizes of button type batteries, none of which you ever keep on hand should you need one.

This results in every home in America having a ‘battery’ drawer somewhere in their house full of little, medium and large button batteries that do not have their sizes written on them anywhere. This leaves you to guess which one might go where to work what. They remind me of those building block things little kids play with that teaches little children how to fit round pegs into round holes not square ones.

Let’s look at the issues with remote controlled ceiling fans.

Our house has 2 bedrooms, a living room and den and one bathroom with ceiling fans. I am not counting the fans out on the porches as I am trying to keep this simple. So the number of remotes for these is five (5).

Heaven help you if you get them mixed up or in the wrong rooms. I suppose I could mark them and wrap some tape around the number so I can’t mix them up, but you know and I know that people start to talk about you when you get to the point of having to label everything, don’t they?

So, when you do mess up and use the wrong one you get the fans going in different directions at different speeds. It takes time to sort them all out, doesn’t it? It seems so simple back in the days when there was a string hanging down to pull to select the speed you wanted the fan to operate.

Time does not allow me to go into the circumstances of all of the other devices I have mentioned but I do want to finish with my thoughts on the television remote.

I think we have a total of 4 in order for our tv to operate.

One is for the television set itself and came with the television….very rarely used but you will need it at some point.

One is for the cable provider I have zero idea of what this one does. I have never used it and am afraid to press any buttons on it as I don’t know what will happen.

One is for the Amazon Fire device located somewhere in the vicinity of our television. We use this one a lot.

The last one is for the sound bar which we had installed since today’s televisions are designed with the speakers facing the back of the unit instead of pointed out toward the person watching. If I was watching the back of our set, I could hear every word, but to me this just defeats the purpose of having a television in the first place. But that’s just me.

Now those of you with little children or grandchildren can relate to what I am saying.

These devices should be guarded very carefully.

If these should fall into the hands of say a five-year-old you will probably have to call a technician out (always on a weekend or a holiday) to get anything to work again, this is always very expensive.

If your child or grandchild is say, 12 or 13 years of age, they can most likely fix the problem in a few seconds but they will make sure they do not describe to you the process to make the repairs. This is the beginning stages of their ability to learn the art of bartering and quid pro quo techniques.

“Grandpa, if I fix your television would you take me to the store and buy me X?”

You, of course are in no mood to barter since the tv technician is going to cost you $100 or more and for you to buy your grandchild “X” is only $35 or $50. You are so smart.

Of course, you could get one of those so-called “Universal” remotes. But rest assured the one you buy doesn’t support the brand of television you own.

Nor can you figure out how to program it with the easy to read 34-page instruction manual.

So, what do you do with it? T

Throw it in the box with all of the rest of them.

Why even ask?

More next week, stay tuned.

Go to Letters From North America on Facebook and sign up…..thanks