Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Progress Report"

It is “Pat-On-The-Back Day” on the old blogeroo.

Now I know.  A lot of readers – particularly younger readers – who I assume I have for the purposes this sentence – will find nothing at all earthshaking concerning the “accomplishments” I am about to delineate.

“Dude’s givin’ himself props for changing a lightbulb!”

First of all, Dude, I actually do that.  It is maybe my primary duty to replace the burnt-out lightbulbs in the house.  And every time I do so – I switch the light on and it comes illuminatingly to life – I invariably pat myself on the back.  Maybe not literally.  More often, I simply equate my accomplishments with the Old Testament Deity and I recite – in Hebrew, mind you:

“Let there be Light.  And there was Light.”

I can just imagine how good that Guy felt.  It is a powerful feeling. 

We both made light.

Anyway, although I spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about the new machinery I am required to deal with and my overall inability to do so, adhering to Biblical analogy:

“Lo, and there were wondrous signs of Fissures in the Firmament.”  (The Book of Earl: 2-17)

I am getting better at it… is what I’m saying.

It started with the CD clock radio.  I read the appropriate instructions, and – not quickly, but eventually – I reset the alarm.  I also moved the clock back an hour when we they changed the time.  (You are very kind.  Thank you.) 

Of course, that last move only happens twice a year, so there is a fifty-fifty chance off some backsliding in the spring.

But I did it… is the point I am trying to make. 

One gizmo down – a hundred thousand to go.  Because every time I figure one out, they come out with a truckload of new ones.  There is no way in what remains of my lifetime that I can ever keep up! 

Fissure in the Firmament Number Two:

The printer. 

I had a paper jam, and I had to call a guy to come out and fix it.  Matt – is his name – Matt then taught me how to fix it myself.  Now – the writer proclaims, with not bravado or even false bravado, which is unjustified bravado, although I imagine all bravado is to some degree unjustified –

I welcome paper jams!

Bring ‘em on!  A jam in the front!  A jam in the back!  A jam on the top!  I can handle them all, extricating any obstructing printer paper within.

I am… the “Plenipotentiary of Paper Jams.”  (Not precisely the right word but I like the way it scans in the sentence.)

Fissure in the Firmament Number Three:

The dreaded DVD player. 

Of which in our house there are three, none of which we had any idea how to work.  Every year, during Oscars season, members of the Writers Guild, among other guilds relevant to the arena, receive what they call “Screeners”, which are free DVD’s of potentially awards-contending motion pictures. 

We have never watched any of them.  They sit in a neatly piled stack in the living room, and when Oscars season is over, they are stored, unviewed, in a cupboard in the basement. 

When other writers inquired, “Did you watch this movie, or that movie?”, I would sheepishly reply “Not yet”, feeling utterly ashamed.  Dreading exposure and, like a cornered illiterate, being forced to tearfully confess,

“I cain’t read!

Well, now, sir – and madam – I can.   (Not all three DVD players, but at least one of them.)

I was shown how to do it, and miraculously, I retained the instructions.  Today, with three remotes in hand – the TV remote, the cable remote and the DVD player remote – click it on, click it on, click it on, switch “TV” to “Input One”, Press “Open”, slip in the disc, press “Close”, press “Play”, press the “Right Arrow button”, promising not to duplicate or promote the disc for commercial purposes, and off we go.

Nine steps – nothing to it.

Let me stop here before I overwhelm you with my amazing accomplishments.  Okay, one more.  It is not exactly technological, but I am gradually adjusting to wearing Birkenstocks. 

Okay, that’s enough.

Here’s the thing – another “Wisdom of Age” observation.  (Be dutifully forewarned.  There may well be others.)

I am not a troglodyte.  Nor do I deliberately try not to learn stuff.  What I have recently come to believe is, instead of saying, “Oh, the guy hates new things” or “He is not a grownup” (an accusation to which I am eminently vulnerable when facing legal documents or on-the-spot decision-making), the more appropriate assessment is:

“His mind does not work that way.”

Some things are harder for some people than they are for others.  It is not that they’re not trying; their wiring is different.  The result being that one mental activity – say, writing stories – falls easily into some people’s chromosominal wheelhouse, while others can successfully hook up a sound system, or fill out a Social Security application without hyperventilating. 

We are talking “individual differences.”  And it is not encouraging to disparage people for their inevitable deficiencies.  Though it might be eminently more convenient if they didn’t have any.

It takes all kinds, eh?  So ease up.

Including on yourself.

And now, if you don’t mind, I have a date with a coffee maker, and an accompanying apparatus that grinds the beans.

May I be up to the challenge.        
Postscript:  Anna sent me a text.  Retrieving it – One hundred percent.  Texting back – Still working on it. 

Wait!  I did it!

1 comment:

Mike T. said...

"What I have recently come to believe..."

There's that phrase again, Earl. Watch it, or people will begin to think: "An aging person is about to deliver a personal perspective, culled, it would be imagined, or so the speaker subliminally implies, from the experiential consequences of living numerous decades on this planet."