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Posted by on Sep 20, 2021 in Retirement Humour |



Living Retired – ‘YOU CANNOT CALL ME A SMART ALEC.’    

Living in a ‘smart home’ is all the rage these days…

A high-tech smart thermostat will warm up your home before you even walk in the door. In the kitchen a smart refrigerator will tell you when you need to toss out fresh fish gone bad before your refrigerator stinks like your grandsons hockey equipment bag. And you can even have a smart home security system that allows you to watch porch pirates steal your Amazon parcels right before your eyes!

This is all well and good BUT Jan and I – okay, mostly me! – are not smart enough to live in a smart home. There I said it.

The only smart devices we have in our home are two smart phones, two smart television remotes, and a collection of other so-called ‘smart thing-a-ma-jigs’ that we keep in a cupboard drawer beside our ‘non-smart things’ like sticky felt floor protectors that I stick on the legs of our kitchen chairs.

Our smart television remotes are considered ‘smart’ because they are voice-activated: holding the remote you mention the name of the program you want to watch and PRESTO! the show is supposed to appear on the screen. Our problem is every time Jan or myself – okay, mostly me! – does this, it does not work. So, instead of telling the television remote what I want it to do, I resort to pleading. Sometimes I even break down and beg! Or throw the remote!

Here is what I mean that I am not smart enough. Okay, just plain stupid…

Standing in the family room when I hold the television remote and say, “Jeopardy” what ensues is a back-and-forth discussion that rivals those classic United Nations debates when Khrushchev banged the podium with his shoe!

From her office Jan will call out, “Gary, did you say something?”

“No dear, I was asking the television remote to select the channel so I can watch Jeopardy.”

“Gary, I cannot hear you. If you want to talk to me you will need to come to my office.”

“But Jan I was not talking to you – I was asking the television remote to change channels. %$#*^%$&!!!

“Gary, please don’t swear!”

“Jan, why is it that you can hear me swear, but you cannot hear anything else I say?”

It has become so frustrating that I have developed a system for using the voice-activated television remote. First, before I even pick up the television remote I walk over to Jan’s office to tell her that I am going to speak into our television remote, “So Dear, if you hear me talking, I am not talking to you, I am speaking to the remote control.” Then I walk back to the family room.

Of course, I cannot find the remote – and I slip into my bad habit…

“Jan have you seen where the remote is?”

“Gary, did you say something? I am in my office. You will have to come to see me.”



Lets look at the big picture: using a smart remote to change channels when the commercials come on during Jeopardy should not be this difficult.

Hey that is it! The smartest contestant on Jeopardy has been Ken Jennings. He could develop a smart television remote that actually works.

“Jan, do you know how to send one of those ‘Gary Chalk wants to be your friend’ requests to someone? I have an idea for Ken Jennings.”

Alexa, “Okay, playing Waylon Jennings ‘I’ve Always Been Crazy.’”

Who is crazy? I am crazy!

I am also not a smart Alec.