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Greg Wallace

Dead batteries

I recently experienced a code-red at my house. Allow me to explain.

The other night, I was working at my drawing table when one of the most tragic occurrences that anyone can possibly fathom happened to me. The remote control for my TV stopped working. Oh the horror!

Most people don’t understand the dire circumstances that I found myself in. Due to the fact that I have poor eyesight and a very small television, my TV is located relatively close to my work area. It is literally two and two-thirds feet away from my drawing table. Most people would think that I could probably change channels manually without finding the need to whine about it. Most people would be wrong. I’m sure that there is a reason why God created the remote control, and I just might be it.

Since life as I know it was not possibly going to resume until I had a working remote, I stopped what I was doing and went to the work of fixing the delicate electronic device. I did what any mechanically-gifted man such as myself would do in this situation. I banged the remote on my desk and jiggled it around a little bit. No luck.

Now I was going to have to get serious. I popped the battery hatch and immediately determined the problem. I deduced that I needed new batteries. After I scraped the dried up corrosive acid off of the terminals, I determined that the job was going to require two AAA batteries. This meant a foray into what we lovingly call in our house, the junk drawer. It’s the place where we keep the stuff that’s not quite good enough to keep in the bowl where we keep our car keys and loose change, but not quite worthless enough to put in the garbage can. Ironically, in my house, the infamous drawer is actually equidistant between those two points.

Whenever I delve into the old junk drawer, or, as they say in Spain — el drawero de junko, I like to take an inventory of its contents. I imagine that a psychologist could tell quite a bit about a person by what is saved and stored in one’s junk drawer. Here is a partial list of what I found:

• Batteries. Most of them are probably worthless because I have this habit of putting the dead batteries back in the drawer instead of actually throwing them away. My wife considers it a bad habit. I call it charmingly quirky. We have D-cells, C-cells, those rectangular little 9 volts, and double-As, but I couldn’t find any triple-A batteries.

• Dried-up Crazy Glue.

• One green Christmas light bulb. I don’t remember ever having a string of lights that would take this kind of bulb.

• Tape measure. My wife likes to use it to prove that I can’t hang stuff straight. I don’t think it works right.

• Three flashlights. Two with no batteries and one that doesn’t work.

• One of those remote controls to light up your Christmas tree. This probably goes on my Top 10 list of the best inventions of all time, right ahead of the wooden ruler but just behind the shoehorn, both of which, I believe, are in my parents’ junk drawer.

• Some keys. To what, I have no clue.

• A really big rubber band.

• Various screwdrivers. Some are the flat kind to open paint cans and others are the fancy Phillips-head screwdrivers to stir the paint once it’s opened.

• Assorted shoe laces to shoes I don’t remember owning.

• I have a key ring that looks like a bass. I think that he’s supposed to do something when you push on his belly but I don’t remember what it is. His batteries are dead. I’d tell you that he looks like a little, teeny-tiny bass, but according to the last time I went fishing, it’s an average-sized bass.

• Two combination locks that nobody knows the combination for anymore. I used them for my locker back when I went to the gym to work out and play basketball. They haven’t been used in what Abraham Lincoln would describe as a score of years. You figure it out.

• A 15-amp fuse.

• My wife has this cute little tack hammer that resides in the junk drawer. I giggle whenever I see it. It’s this itty-bitty hammer that she uses to pound in the itty-bitty nails that hold up the pictures hanging around our house. The only thing that I think it’s good for is sometimes impeding the ease of operation of opening the junk drawer.

• A cheap pair of pliers. The center bolt that holds the two plier sections together is kind of loose and wobbly so they don’t work that well as pliers. I usually use them as the hammer.

• A deck of unopened playing cards.

• We have a pair of little blue walkie talkies in our junk drawer. We used them once on a two-car trip to Burlington, Iowa. I tried, unsuccessfully, to get my Grandma to talk like a trucker on them. They should probably be in one of my kids’ rooms, but they most likely ended up in the drawer on a previous, unproductive battery-finding mission.

I am proud to report that after a couple of hours of scrounging and some good old-fashioned ingenuity, I found what I was looking for and I was back to my channel-surfing lifestyle. My wife’s going to be mad this holiday season when she finds out that the Christmas tree remote needs batteries.

You can contact Wallace at gwallace@bcrnews.com. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.blogspot.com.

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