I wonder how often the word computer is accompanied by an adjective? You know, as in, “Why is this #$%^%$computer so slow?” or “Why did this #$%^&^ computer just change its own settings?” or “I hate this #$%^&^% computer!” My guess is that it’s way north of 50%. In fact, if someone were smart, he or she would form the Damn Computer company and then collect royalty fees every time someone uttered the registered name of their company. Most of us, however, have bolted right past such mild epithets into much more colorful territory whenever we have to deal with these electronic wizards. Indeed, computers are much like Merlin: They are very helpful to a point and then all of a sudden, Sir Lancelot is sending you error messages that no normal human being understands.
Of course, when you do get an error message you can paste it into a search engine and read the threads on how to fix this; threads that again, no normal human being understands. I think we can all agree that the people who do actually understand these incantations are not normal.
A friend of mine recently dealt with the issue of trying to get her new computer to run her old printer. After several futile calls for help on Facebook, she finally opted to simply buy a new printer, which was much cheaper than investing in psychiatric sessions which is where she was headed if she kept trying to get the new computer to run the old printer. This experience was just about enough to make her lose her religion, which is bad because she is an ordained minister. Clearly then, the power of prayer is not enough to overcome malfunctioning technological interfaces–whatever those are.
My phone recently caught a virus, one that made it nauseated, which in turn made it puke up its guts. The guy at U. S. Cellular said the only treatment was to do a “factory restore.” I wanted to boil the phone in chicken noodle soup, but he insisted on the factory restore and so, I spent the next four days reinstalling contacts, apps, and dates in my calendar.
I’m convinced that tiny gremlins live in the computer and cause all this mischief. How else do you explain the fact that quite often you are told to simply unplug your computer for 10 seconds so it can reset itself? I’m typing on a machine that is more powerful than the one that sent men to the moon and I’m supposed to just unplug the thing to make it better? Maybe if NASA had simply unplugged Mission Control during the near-disaster of Apollo 13, all that trouble would have been avoided. My guess is that when the computer is unplugged it is a signal to the gremlins to stop laughing and get back to work. Gremlins are well-known pranksters.
Right now, the gremlins are randomly changing the size of my internet windows. I thought it was me, but I took both hands off the touch pad mouse and it still just randomly changes size.
I have my father’s old slide rule in my desk and it’s never changed a thing about itself. It’s never needed an update and it isn’t incompatible with the printer which we used to call a “typewriter.” Come to think of it, I never heard Dad curse that slide rule, either. Perhaps, the real investment into which Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and those people have sunk their money is in drug companies that specialize in hypertension medication. It would explain quite a bit. . . . Oh, I just got an error message. I think I’ll just download that slide rule several times across this computer and see if that fixes things. If not, into the pot of boiling chicken noodle soup it goes.