Having come of age during the typewriter era, I still think of every keystroke as a disfiguring slap of an iron mallet against fresh leaves. A sheet of typing paper appears a miracle in itself – how do they get them so thin? I can’t even slice a radish.
So, to me anyway, a fresh and creamy sheet of paper is like Mother Nature’s cheek. It is symbolic of so much else, I am protective of it. I hate to see it treated poorly or with general disregard.
That’s one of the reasons I hate this snail mail my late wife keeps getting — computer-generated donation requests from charities, particularly cancer charities, the disease that killed her.
“It’s not too late to help…” the City of Hope tells her.
Yeah, sorry. It kinda is.
My late wife also still gets notes from the giant pet store chain, pitching supplements and flea shampoos. They also send notes to our beagle, Koa, addressing him on a chatty, first-name basis.
Too late there as well. Koa died two years ago.
I suppose this isn’t them, it’s me. My expectations are always too high. I expect God to be reasonable; I expect strangers to hold doors; I expect restaurant servers – and paramedics — to hurry a little.
Often, those things don’t happen. Is that on them or on me? Probably me. I’m an imperfect pinecone. I want bike seats to be softer, harvest moons to be fuller, Trader Joe’s Sriracha to have a little more ooooooomfff.
Perhaps I need to let whimsy and incompetence prevail once in a while, especially in this vacuous and troubling digital age.
True story (I tell it all the time): Cervantes once took a civil service job with the Spanish Armada, messed up the money, went to prison, and got a really great book out of it.
Point is, Mikey Cervantes knew how to exploit a hard, disfiguring slap of fate. He knew that even when you fail, you sometimes win.
OK digital age, I’m changing my mind about you. In fact, I love you. I love your eyes, your teeth, your giggle. You have no soul, no heart. Otherwise, tech, you’re perfect.
But one last request. I don’t want tickets in my phone. I want a paper ticket — to a ballgame, a movie, a flight to Paris.
Mock me, go ahead. But I want something in my hand after paying $3,200 for the Paris flight, so if I don’t have email access at the gate, or my battery runs low again – it’s always low again – I can still go to Paris.
Cumulatively, I’ve spent 14 years waiting for Word documents to open. If my TV works, it’s a surprise.
Don’t tell me how great tech is when nothing works.
Gone are the days when you turn something on – a movie, a song — and it fires right up. Too often, stuff doesn’t connect, or an enabling device “can’t be found.” Then comes the error code, which mean nothing to nobody.
Lately, my music app connects to the car speaker even when I don’t want it to. Why? I don’t know. I don’t try to stop it though. If I try to stop it, I will upset some delicate balance in the universe – the flow of protons between Earth and infinity — and suddenly I won’t get any music from my phone, or my car won’t start, or the air bag will explode.
By the way, remember when calling someone a geek was an insult?
Because all this is engineered by clammy little nerds who never got the girl, who can’t kick a football or shoot whiskey or make eye contact.
These Dilberts design the overpriced devices for each other. It’s easy for them because it’s all they do all day, click around and around, write some code, watch some porn, click around some more, which is what they do in lieu of talking to women.
In part, I blame women. If they just talked to geeky little men once in a while! (Beware: Many geeky men are writers. They’re even worse!).
But I digress….
Another thing I don’t get: The Cloud. All my photos automatically go into “The Cloud,” and I have no idea how to get them back. I gaze up at the sky. I think I see them sometimes. I just can’t get to them.
All I know about The Cloud is that I can buy more storage for so much per month. I don’t want additional storage. I don’t even want all my photos going to The Cloud. Honestly, my photos suck.
So I don’t need more Cloud space. Know what I need? More room in my sock drawer.
Know what else I need? A printer that works. So I can print my tickets.
Meanwhile, it was almost an accident how I learned to scan stuff from my phone. No kidding, the athletic director at the high school showed me (thanks Carrie!).
Here’s how you scan stuff from an iPhone:
- Open Notes
- Create a new file
- Click the camera icon at the bottom
- Choose “Scan Documents”
Boom, that’s it! See, I’m pretty techie. I know stuff, despite my constant state of befuddlement … despite a brain made of ice cream and Milk Duds.
I just need to fight the urge to give up on all this crud, no matter how bad it becomes.
Are you with me? Yeah? Sure, you are.
Please join me at the YMCA’s annual Prayer Breakfast Oct. 15 in La Canada, where I’ll share more valuable tech tips and life-affirming stories from my new book with wild bear specialist Steve Searles. For info, call (818) 583-4731, or email Jpingry@ymcafoothills.org