Remote and Resigned

What would the world be like if we didn’t have TV remotes?

*  *  27  *  *

He looked across the barren landscape, praying for any sign of relief.

There was none.

As he crawled through the sand, he felt small, jagged rocks cutting into his knees. The heat from the sun had baked the sand so that it burned his hands while the wind kicked up dust that cut at his face. He couldn’t remember when he had begun his journey. Sometimes it seemed as though it had been mere moments before, but sometimes it seemed like years. Since the sun in this desert never seemed to set, he had no real way to measure time other than the exhaustion he felt.

He was beginning to feel as though it was a hopeless endeavor. Was it even possible to cross this desert? Was there a chance that it simply continued on forever? Would he be better off turning around and accepting his fate? He worked hard to keep himself from asking such questions, but at that moment, it was proving rather difficult.

Resisting the urge to give up and surrender to the elements, he pushed himself up to his feet to give his knees a break. His shoes, having proven themselves useless, lied somewhere behind him, far beyond his view. His bare feet had become so calloused and scorched that they barely took note of the hot sand trying desperately to slice them to pieces. They were not, however, immune to his weight. They still ached from their last stint as the primary mode of transport, but they were, at that moment, less cantankerous than his knees.

Unfortunately, sometimes even when one does not complain, one still cannot do the job.

His feet gave up, and he collapsed into  heap.

For a long time, he lay on his back staring at the pale gray sky. For a moment, he considered staring straight into the blazing sun and ending at least part of his suffering. If he was blind, then at least he wouldn’t be able to see that there was nothing to see.

It took a large chunk of his willpower to keep his eyes from turning toward the light.

It took significantly less to continue laying there.

A warm breeze whipped up, ruffling his raggedy clothes and tousling his hair. He closed his eyes and allowed the wind free reign to do with him what it willed. On several levels, he hoped that it would simply pick him up and take him away. The wind, however, seemed quite content to leave him lying there as it moved on toward fairer grounds.

After what felt like hours of lying there, allowing his body an opportunity to recuperate, he was filled with a surge of motivation. Something deep inside of him was screaming, begging him to return to his mission.

And he couldn’t let that part of himself down.

He pushed himself to his feet, ignoring their objections and reminding them that this was their job. They seemed to begrudgingly accept their role, and he continued his journey.

It didn’t take long to reap the benefits of their gracious sacrifice.

For the first time since he began this trek, he saw something in the distance other than desert: something near the horizon glimmered with a light that was something more than a mere reflection of the accursed sun. With a renewed sense of hope fueling his body, the man broke into a run.

Within minutes, he could make out the feint rectangular shape of the object. A few moments after that, he was standing before its magnificence.

He dropped to his knees and wept with relief.

After he composed himself, he reached up with a trembling hand and pressed one of the many buttons gracing the front of the object. Tears began to form anew in his eyes as the object reacted to his touch. It was finally over.

Turning away from the object, he looked back at the desert and felt much of that joy fall away.

He had changed the channel, but he still had to return to the couch.

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