There is an old ‘Twilight Zone’ episode where a man’s household appliances turn against him because he hates them for the enslavement to convenience that they have perpetrated on mankind.  By the end of the show they have surrounded him and forced him into the swimming pool where he meets his demise.

I recalled that episode last night as I witnessed my husband trying to install the latest electronic miracle on our TV.  It’s the “Firestick“ I mentioned in a column three weeks ago.

For two weeks my cousin Jan, and her husband, Lyle, and our friends’ the Ratliff’s (Eric and Ann) have been watching free movies and catching up on all the Oscar nominated films before the actual ceremonies.  All the while our “Firestick” has remained in the box.  That is until last night.  Our friends told us that all they had to do was plug it in and follow the directions on the screen; and now they’ve been watching movies and eating buttered popcorn since we all bought the things three weeks ago.

When Ronnie announced last night that he was finally going to install the new contraption I started to hold my breath.  Thank goodness my lung capacity isn’t what it used to be because after one hour of him cussing he reached the point where not only was he hopelessly lost in electronic limbo, but we had to arrange a 3-way telephone call with my sister, Amanda, in Indianapolis, and Jan and Lyle in Huntington, W.Va., to coach him through the video maze of icons and instructions.

One of the conversations between him and me went, “Ronnie, Lyle said you’re supposed to move the little cursor to the far right on your screen.”

“It won’t let me; I can’t get it to move off of ‘Home’.”

“Hit that little ‘house’ icon like Lyle said and move over to ‘Hulu’.”

“I’m telling you it keeps saying ‘error’ and it’s got me frozen in that one box.”

“Ronnie, like Amanda said, this isn’t brain surgery,” I quipped.

“I wish it was because I’d be done by now,” he exclaimed in frustration.

As of this writing we still haven’t watched a movie on that thing, but stay tuned.

Ronnie’s decision to apply his electronic talent (or lack of it) came on the same day he excitedly informed me of some of the products he’d read about that were introduced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The first item that caught his eye was a robotic, self-driving suitcase that responds to your phone and follows along beside of you at the airport.  “You don’t have to pull it or push it, let alone carry it,” he said.  “Isn’t that great!”

To which I conjured an image of Ronnie chasing that suitcase around the concourse like a kid playing Tag with another kid who doesn’t want to get caught.

But the big one that got his attention was the internet-connected toilet that responds to voice commands via Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.  Again, my imagination took over as the following scene played out in my head between Ronnie and that commode: “I’m done Alexa, you can flush… Okay, Alexa, you can stop flushing now… Alexa, I said to stop flushing… Alexa, stop… Alexa!...

OH, NO!!!”

Folks, I have seen the future and it’s not a pretty sight.

Have a great week and don’t forget to Smile Awhile!

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