Pass the Remote by Jonathan Kahane

Jon Kahane lives in Hampshire County and is a retired Psychology Professor. He has published many articles in refereed journals, as well as textbook chapters and numerous columns and letters in the Daily Hampshire Gazette and elsewhere. This is meant to be a humorous piece on TV fare during this period. This piece was previously published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on July 3, 2020.

Pass the Remote

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on virtually every aspect of our lives. I, like many others, have found myself spending more time fixing things around the house which I had let go for way too long.

Last Saturday afternoon, while trying to fix a gutter and downspout for the third time (again unsuccessfully), I decided to take a break before I hurt myself.

I thought I would have a snack and some juice to calm down, which I hoped would provide me with a new strategy to complete the chore. I turned on the TV in order to watch some sporting events which are usually presented on Saturday afternoons.

Of course, these times have postponed or canceled the live major events that normally would take place. I was fascinated by how the producers chose to fill in the time slots. In most cases, past contests which had been covered at various moments in history were chosen for broadcast. I have to hand it to these networks for their ingenuity and planning with regard to the events they have thought would entertain us during these unsettled times.

How in the world they were ever able to locate the video I took back in 1997 of my son’s 6th grade Field Day is beyond me. I have been looking for that video for ages. The egg and spoon race provided several thrilling moments which I’m sure the viewers appreciated. The always dangerous three-legged race led to some unfortunate mishaps, but luckily the school nurse was on hand and all contestants survived with some scraped knees and bruised egos.

I couldn’t handle all the excitement, so I switched channels and was treated to a rebroadcast – in black and white – of the controversial Roman chariot race held in 753 BC during the Festival of Consuelia. The Circus Maximus was packed. You might recall that Romulus Smith was the winner, though he was accused of drugging his steeds. He is still being investigated.

I tried one more channel where the 1952 World Horseshoe Championships were being televised from somewhere in Texas. I lost interest when the officials were taking too much time resolving a measurement controversy.

My last attempt led me to watch the 2015 Preakness Stakes. This time I felt sure that Tale of Verve would come from behind to win, so I called in a bet. American Pharoah (yes, that’s how they spell his name) won again. Well, that’s what makes horse racing.

The announcers told me to stay tuned for the 1953 Marble Championships – 10-year-old division – but by that time I was highly motivated to get back to the leaky gutter. I’ll watch the rerun.

I can’t wait to see what’s on next.