By Scott Harrup | May 24, 2012
Eugene Polley died on May 20 at the age of 96 of natural causes. Whether or not you have heard of Polley, you very likely use some form of his best-known invention — the TV remote control.
Zenith, Polley’s employer, introduced the Flash-Matic remote in 1955. It resembled a flashlight and could activate photocells on a television set to change channels and volume and turn the TV on and off.
Polley lived for nearly a century, but his invention may have shortened a few life spans. As a self-confessed recovering couch potato, I might be a victim. Remote controls have allowed millions of people to give up just one more limited opportunity to exercise in our convenience-saturated world. All those lost trips across the room to change a channel or turn down the volume during a commercial probably translate into hours or even days shaved off the end of one’s life.
To be fair to Polley, the bigger issue is how much time I’m sitting in front of a TV in the first place. Compared to the average American, not much at all. But my editing/writing career is also sedentary, so that complicates things a bit.
The Pentecostal Evangel, this blog’s sponsor, will take a look at exercise, diet and other health issues in our July 8 issue. Editing those articles, I experienced another twinge of guilt. Maybe this summer will find me trading my remote for some running shoes. How about you?
(For more articles like this one, visit Out There.)
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