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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Leonard Pitts: Memorializing The Man Who Invented The Remote Control

We are gathered here today to memorialize a man who revolutionized our lives.

So what did Eugene J. Polley do? What was the nature of his great leap forward? Did he invent the PC? Did he invent the cellphone? Did he invent the Internet?

No. Eugene J. Polley invented the wireless remote.

You young’uns won’t remember this, but back in the day, when you wanted to change channels you had to actually get up from the couch and embark upon an arduous trip five, six, sometimes even seven feet across the living room where you would manually turn a “dial” until the desired channel sprang into view in all its black-and-white glory.

While you were up, someone would always ask you to adjust the rabbit ears (ask your dad about the rabbit ears) to get rid of the snow (ask your dad about the snow). Then it was a long trudge back across the living room to the couch where your evil sister had taken your seat and wouldn’t give it back no matter how nicely you threatened to drop her Chatty Cathy (ask your mother about Chatty Cathy) down the sewer, leaving you no choice but to shove her and then she punched you and then mom started yelling and didn’t want to hear how it wasn’t your fault, and next thing you know, you’d been sent to bed early and you didn’t even get to see “Gilligan’s Island” that night.