WE are masters of technology, and at the same time, we are slaves to technology. Nothing brings this more into focus than a television remote control.
Particularly during grand final weekend when the other members of your house have no interest in sport and banish you downstairs to the second - as yet untuned-in ancient - tele that is minus a remote control that would normally make tuning-in a doddle. Short sharp breath.
The mission in this case, if I chose to accept, was to work out how to tune in that old idiot box manually, or risk missing kick-off. And what choice is that if you have spent the entire week looking forward to witnessing said kick-off, not to mention the rest of the game? Could the technology gods be any more exquisitely cruel? Well, of course, and it would soon manifest in the form of a one-for-all universal TV remote, but more on that later.
While the sporting philistines settled in for a re-run of the First Wives Club on the tele that worked upstairs, I toggled furiously downstairs toward a vague understanding of wanting something really bad.
And I found it could be done with a mixture of trial, error and random button pressing, which is pretty much the same as saying "error" when you're dealing with technology. Because no sooner had I arrived at a half-decent reception, than a prompt appeared - "input password" - and the tele locked up. So close, but yet so far I nearly jumped in the car and drove down to the RSL.
According to the blogosphere I soon consulted, no nerd born yet had been able to crack the mystery of "inputting password" on these old teles without a remote. The only answer, they said, was to order a remote online and take ownership of it two weeks after full-time would blow on my grand final.
This was a morale-sapping setback only trumped by the realisation that the only hope now was to work out how to tune in the one-for-all universal remote.
Quite frankly that was moving into level four Inception stuff because there are 950 million brands of TVs out there that these universal remotes can operate. And each brand requires a code. And it seems there are at least three codes for each individual brand that might work. No guarantee.
And they have to match individual brand model numbers, that might be found on the back of TVs, if those TVs happen to go by the name on the endless list. Or maybe you have to look for alternate names for say a "Dick Smith" Jurassic Park extinct type model.
Much squinting, cross-referencing and just plain desperation later, I pressed what was aptly called "the magic" button, and three blue lights flickered - just as the prophesy said on page 42 of the manual - and I experienced the morphine-like rush of television, drug of the nation, breeding ignorance and feeding radiation.
Not only radiation, but also clear vision of the kick-off. A lot of hollering followed thereafter because I had persevered and mastered my slavery, or slaved to my master - I still haven't worked that out yet.