By Barbara Burns
I don’t think I’ll ever understand why men don’t ask for help. That’s the way it’s been since, well, probably the days of the cave man.
In books and movies, I don’t recall a cave man ever seeking help from a cave woman. Ugh, I recalled drawings of a cave man dragging his cave woman around by her hair. “We’ve come a long way, baby.”
Last week, my husband and I had to go to West Virginia. We checked into our motel room and once settled, I picked up the TV remote control. This was the first time I stayed in a motel with a large flat-screen TV, and I couldn’t wait to check it out.
I pushed the power button but nothing happened. I pushed the button marked “TV.” Again, nothing. I pushed both buttons at the same time. Nothing. I worked through all 50-plus buttons on the remote. Nothing. Lastly, I frantically and randomly “mashed” buttons in a haphazard manner. Nothing. Time was running out — we had a mere 20 minutes of down time before we needed to leave the motel room.
All the while, I muttered quietly, as my husband roamed around the room. He seemed oblivious to my failed attempts to turn the TV on.
I didn’t want to leave my nest on the king-size bed amid half-dozen pillows and a feather-light comforter, so I asked him to check the power switch on the TV. Nothing.
Now he starts to do the same thing I spent 10 minutes doing — pushing buttons. Nothing.
Finally, I suggested he call the front desk. After all, the phone was within his reach, and time was running out.
In a quiet, but emphatic tone, he responded, “I don’t have to do that — I’m a man.” Priceless.
I hooted, hollered and laughed for five minutes and almost rolled off my comfortable nest. All the while, he continued to check cables and wires.
Five minutes later, I resignedly told him that I’d call the front desk. After all, time was running out.
“I’ll get it,” he responded.
At this point, he starts to mutter quietly — “It’s got to be the receiver,” “It’s plugged in,” and finally, “I don’t know,” and hands me the remote.
Great. With little time left until we returned to the room late that night, our TV didn’t work.
We never once considered that maybe the fault was ours, that we didn’t know how to work a TV system far superior to our big ‘ol box model of 30-plus years.
I recalled a time or two when the TV really didn’t work in a motel room, and we were moved to a different room. For once, I was glad I traveled light and didn’t unpack the few items I packed.
I buried my head in the newspaper, unaware that my husband continued to “fix” the TV. When I peeked at him from behind the paper, I smiled to myself. He can’t stand not to be able to fix something or figure out what’s wrong.
With T-minus 10 seconds and counting to departure, he said, “OK, try it now.”
Lackadaisically, and with thoughts of stopping at the front desk to report the problem, I humored him and pushed the power button.
All of a sudden the room filled with sounds of screaming, crying, bleeps, blips and a large-screen, aging Jerry Springer. Great.
“What did you do?” I asked my simply-amazing-TV repairman-husband.
“I plugged it in,” he laughed.
That’s my cave man.
Barbara Burns is editor of Outlook and a columnist for The Observer News Enterprise. Her column appears in the Thursday edition of The O-N-E. Reach Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org .