Sunday, February 18, 2007

A moment of mute, please

I was taken, this morning, with the death of Dr. Robert Adler, co-inventor of the remote control.

Not just because it is a writer's dream of puns.

AP's lede was good - Hit the mute for a moment of silence, the inventor of the remote control, Dr. Robert Adler, has died.

Other stories credited (read: blamed) Adler and his co-founder for creating the couch potato and launching us into a generation of bloat. Right, and the inventor of the book created degenerative eye disease.

The tabloids, well, they had more fun. One Brit news site heralded "TV remote controller inventor switches off" with the sub-head "No, he wasn't found down the back of the sofa." Insert loose change, lost remote, and other jokes here.

But it's likely the classic tale of a guy who did hundreds or thousands of things with his life and his obit, well, it's the one thing they remember. Clinton will have Monica, Ford had pardoning Nixon, Anna Nicole had, well, nothing special.

Somewhere, in Boise or Austria, the family of Dr. Adler is saying, 'But there's so much more.' Yes, well, there is - and plenty of stories reflected it. He had something like 180 patents, the most recent registered just a few weeks ago. His touch-screen technology is used from the Holocaust Museum to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

But such is life in the modern age. If you are infamous, and Adler was, that is your cross to bear.

I know when I get back on the couch in a few minutes, I'll thank Dr. Adler for allowing me to relax in peace.

Of course, I won't be able to take his invention from the wife's hands to flip off the chick flick she's watching but look at the bright side - the person who's busy inventing that important gadget will be honored someday too.

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