Washington is full of statues and monuments and plaques. You can’t walk a block in this town without learning that something important happened on that spot at some time in our nation’s history. If you stopped and read them all, no one would ever make it to work. (In fact, that would be a great idea for a D.C. holiday: “Stop and Read the Plaques Day.” Combine it with casual Friday, so everyone is in comfortable shoes.)
Where is our tribute to the inventor of the television remote control? It didn’t happen here, but shouldn’t every city, town and hamlet have one? Those of us who can remember a time when TVs didn’t come with them need a place to lay a wreath. Because not only do they allow us to skip lame commercials, they allow us to take a break from lame programming.
Speaking of lame programming, I gave you a list of ways to while away your afternoon if you chose to skip today’s Redskins-49ers game, but I know a lot of you will be unable to. I am among you. So now I am offering Plan B, as it were. And that involves flipping.
Men get a bad rap when it comes to the remote control. Comedians have long riffed on how men can’t stay on one channel for more than a few seconds, while women camp out for days, presumably on Lifetime or Bravo, sitting through the worst dreck on television rather than push a single button.
That may be true of most men, and even some women, but like all generalizations, it’s generally wrong. I flipped quite a bit during last Sunday’s Redskins game. I was quite sure I wasn’t going to miss anything except, perhaps, another sack, and I could catch that later, on the DVR. (League officials apparently were flipping, too: They gave the Bills an additional sack this week.)
Maybe, like me, they were watching bits of the Pats-Steelers game. Or perhaps they were watching the beginning of “The Big Chill.” Parts of that movie no longer stand the test of time but the church scene does, especially when Karen plays “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on the organ. You know how it is. You don’t always want to watch old movies, but you often want to see your favorite parts of old movies. If I find “Jaws” on any channel, I will keep flipping back and forth until it’s time for the scene in which Quint describes his experience on the USS Indianapolis. Goosebumps.
So for those of you who are going to attempt to watch the Redskins game, let’s assume you’re going to flip channels during commercials, at halftime — and, if you’re honest, perhaps during some frustrating times as well. That’s between you and your remote. We’re not here to judge.
What are your options? Sports-wise, slim. There is golf and ACC field hockey and Big East women’s soccer.
In the “sports-ish” category, “Major League” is on Spike at 1:30. Not a movie I can sit through — the Tom Berenger-Rene Russo romance is ridiculous — but you can play the “catch your favorite line” game. Mine is “[To heck with] you, Jobu — I do it myself.”
“Cars” is on ABC Family at 1 p.m. but if you have kids, you’ve worn out at least one DVD of that and if you flip to it, even accidentally, your child then owns the TV for the next two hours, so proceed with caution.
Actual NASCAR Sprint Cup competition starts at 3 on ESPN. Rubbin’ and racin’ make good flippin’ material because it’s usually just cars going in a circle, so you can check in and out. Unless there’s crashin’ and punchin’, in which case you’ll have to have good timin’.
And if the game is out of control by, say, 3:30, “Ghostbusters” is on Comedy Central, and I still like to test myself to see if I can recite every single line yet, or just my favorites, such as “I collect spores, molds and fungus,” “Back off, man, I’m a scientist,” or “Print is dead.”
That last one isn’t as funny as it used to be.