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Daze of My Life: Consider This
Daze of My Life
You all don't know me, really. I mean, you read what I write; know what I think (in print anyway); relate to what I feel, hopefully. But, other than as a weekly read, you don't really know what I'm like on a daily basis: what my personality is, what my peculiarities are (OK, maybe you do), what my reactions to things are, etc. And though I try to be open and honest, still, admitting what matters - and what doesn't - isn't always easy.
What is easy to admit to are my feelings toward my computer. We are not exactly hand and glove, we are more like hand and foot: involved with the same whole (me), but not exactly on speaking terms (although we do attend the same meetings). And as artificially intelligent as my computer is, I don't really respect it. Sure, I appreciate its many super-human abilities and skills, many (heck if I'm being honest, most) of which are far beyond this mortal man, but I don't connect with it; emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. And as much as I would like to, I don't hit it in frustration. Nor, quite frankly, do I praise it. (That can't matter, can it?) It is within this uneasy framework that I/we exist. I try to be patient but I'm sure I'm not (absolutely sure!).
So it was not a total surprise, when I consider for a moment our man-machine association, that one day last week while computing at home, my home computer popped up a window "messengering" me a missive - with attitude, I thought: "Your cartridge is running low on ink. Consider having a replacement cartridge available." (Do you even put quotes on what computers pop up?)
"CONSIDER" Consider this (obscene gesture). If I've ever been tempted to hit a computer, this was it. "Consider." Where does my computer get off talking (printing) to me like that? I pay its Internet provider to service me monthly. I keep the computer plugged in and turned on so that it can live and learn, think and grow rich, maybe. I type its keys to give its circuits, processors and mother board (and whatever else it contains that I have no knowledge of) reasons to compute, calculate, find, file and aid and assist in whatever way I, as the master of its domain, see fit. And if I, for any reason, real or imagined, want to end its pathetic dependency on me, I can, with the press of a button or the pulling of a plug, do so. I can end its useful life. Furthermore, if I so choose, I can cart its computer carcass to the local dump - and not recycle it.
Give me attitude. I'll show you!
I can be the most understanding and accommodating person; that is until you take advantage of my patience and kindness and treat me not with the respect and appreciation I deserve but instead treat me with disdain and distrust. I know what I'm doing, mostly, "and I don't need no stinkin' " computer telling me what it thinks I should be doing. If I wanted its opinion, I'd ask for it.
So from now on, computer, just respond to my keystrokes and mind your own business. You work for me! I don't work for you. And that's just the way I want to keep it.
Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.
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