Here's a joke that goes all the way back to the days when there were cops at major intersections. Today, of course, you don't see them. Traffic cops at intersections have been replaced by traffic circles, primarily for the benefit of body-and-fender repair shops.
But as the story goes, a driver was sitting at a red light, not paying attention. The light turned green, then yellow, and still the car remained still as the light went red again. When it changed again to green and still the driver made no move to go, the cop at the corner leaned in and said, "What's the matter? Ain't we got no colors you like?"
Of course, this came to mind the other night when I had trouble with the cable. Every so often, our cable boxes are sluggish to respond to the urgings of the remote. When I want to go from the DVR of "Jackass 3.5" to "Hannity," sometimes nothing happens. So I figure, the tv knows I'm watching one jackass already, so why change? But let's say Peggy wants to watch "Oprah's LifeClass."
"Peggy wants to watch 'Oprah's LifeClass'."
All right. Now let's say she really really wants to watch Oprah, down there on channel 41, between the Mexican soap operas and the Surgery Channel. And I'm pushing buttons and waving the remote, all for nothing.
The cure, as we found out before, is to simply power down the cable box (the new, techie way to say "turn it off".) So the other night I tried to do that. Well, with the tv in our fabulously-appointed Family Room, when the cable guy hooked it up, he saw that he needed 39" of cable to run from the wall to the box, so he cut it off at 38.5", which means a lot of stretching. There is no extra cable to play with, if you need to pull the box forward, which means you do so carefully, and still, somehow, all the little five colored audio and video cords came out.
Now, here is the rainbow of colors as we know it: We all remember the names of the colors, thanks to Roy G. Biv. And in between those seven components of the visible spectrum, there must be over a hundred thousand different colors available. Just a glance in the hair dye aisle, or at a Toyota paint chart, will show you that.
But NO! the cable tv people need five colors for the five little cords that need to be plugged in, and so they choose WHITE, GREEN, BLUE, RED and RED.
Do you see any problem with that? When you're standing there, reaching behind a cable box, you have to look at the teeny tiny label on the tiny tip of the two red cords - in the dark - while wearing a headlamp - looking for the words AUDIO and VIDEO in a font the size of fortune cookie writing, you wonder why, with all these colors, the manufacturers of cable boxes would use TWO red cords.
And the answer is clear.
To drive me crazy.