By Tim Miller of The Faucet Blog
Step One: Start by feigning legitimate surprise that the remote is actually missing. Act like it’s never happened before, even though it’s a regular occurrence in that disaster area known as the family room. Tone and body language are crucial. Something like, “Really? The remote is missing?” Frown. An incredulous turn of the head. “You mean like missing missing? Wow.”
Step Two: Put down whatever you’re doing. Let’s say it’s watching baseball bloopers on your phone. Just hit pause and put it down. Slowly approach the area where the remote could be. This is critical: DO NOT ENTER THE AREA. Not yet. It’s too soon. Treat it like a crime scene, with imaginary yellow tape. Stand just beyond this line. Exhibit a look of concern, yet don’t lose that feeling of bewilderment that you started off with. The eyebrows might come in handy here. If you can survey the scene with an expression of sincere worry, touched off with perplexed eyebrows, you’re nailing it.
Step Three: Enter the area and proceed with caution. Look around with genuine scrutiny. At this point your S.O. might start mentioning places already searched. This is good! You can repeat them, like a parrot making a list. Here the real pro’s will lend just the slightest rise to the end of each phrase, a hint of ambiguity between an interrogative and declarative sentence (not recommended for amateurs.) Here is an example:
Wife: It’s not between the couch cushions.
Husband: Not between the couch cushions.
Wife: It’s not under the coffee table.
Husband: Not under the coffee table.
Wife: I checked the bookshelf and the cabinets.
Husband: Bookshelf and cabinets.
Wife: I’ve looked everywhere.
Step Four: Get ready. It’s time to take the highway to the danger zone, bum ba-bum, bum ba-bum, take a ride into the danger zone. You now need to start looking or else likely incur the wrath of your S.O. But here’s the key. You sort of look. Start with the places already mentioned, as if to confirm, in a preliminary way, that the remote is indeed not there. Maybe you lift up a couch cushion. Kick a stuffed animal or two. Glance along that familiar resting place, the mantle above the fireplace. BUT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you do something foolish like get down on your hands and knees. Maintain a befuddled expression. Flip over another pillow. You’re almost there. Put your hands on your hips and pretend to think. Hold. Hold. Hooooooollllld. “Oh forget it,” your S.O. will say, at which point you can shrug and go back to baseball bloopers.
You might be tempted to smile here as your S.O. heads for the upstairs TV, but show only a mask of irritation. Shake your head. Like, how do we live in this pigsty? Until you hear those steps on the staircase. Then it’s safe. Smile all you want.
About the Author
Tim Miller is a writer and humorist living in San Marcos, CA. He got his start as a humor columnist for The North County Times near San Diego in 2011. His writing has appeared in places like Across The Margin, Defenestration, The Piker Press, The Writing Disorder, and The Scarlet Leaf Review. To the dismay of plumbers everywhere, he blogs his leaky thoughts at https://thefaucetblog.com/. Find him on Twitter @faucetwriter. As a school teacher and father of three young daughters, he’s f*cking hysterical when he’s fully rested, which is never.