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This Day in My History


When the first Superman movie came out, I was frequently asked "What is a hero?" ...My answer was that a hero is someone who commits a courageous action without considering the consequences...Now my definition is completely different.  I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.

~ Christopher Reeve

Yesterday's Entries

2001:  If I had a Cause
2002:  The Torch is Passed
2003:  Greasing My Palm


Rubyfruit Jungle

TODAY on the TELE's Wednesday.  The West Wing, of course.  I want to see a good president, after watching that travesty last night.





21 January 2004

They forgot to tell me one eency weency thing about the car we rented ... it comes with a burglary alarm.

This morning I went to put some packages into the trunk to take to the post office. I opened up the trunk and the alarm went off. Not too horrible...kind of an annoying "beep...beep...beep." Swell. What do I do now?

So I opened the car door to see if I could figure it out and the volume increased significantly. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! (It sounded more like THIEF! THIEF! THIEF!)

The only thing I could think of to do was turn on the motor, and thank goodness that worked.

That’s when I discovered all these controls on the keychain. Oh! That’s what they’re all for. They turn the alarm on and off as well as lock and unlock the doors.

[I think when we get our car repaired, we should definitely look into having an alarm system installed. Trust me, it’s very effective!]

That wasn’t the last time today I felt a little foolish. Toward the end of the work day, I was getting some statistucs together to give to the director, who had asked if I could figure out how to create a report. I got the stats just fine and started printing, when I suddenly realized how I could do it faster, shorter, and use much less paper than I had just given the printer a command to use.

I tried stopping the print, but like the brooms in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, not only did it not stop the print, but when it went through all the printing, it started printing it again.

I tried turning off the printer but when I turned it on again, it started printing again, starting at the beginning once more because I had stopped in the middle of the print.

I decided I’d disconnect it completely. I turned off the power, leaving it with nothing to keep its memory alive, but when I reconnected everything and turned the printer back on again, the damn thing started printing the job I didn’t want all over again.   From the beginning.

Eventually I managed to get the report I wanted and tossed all the rest in the shredder, but I felt as helpless as I felt this morning standing there with MY car (albeit my temporary car) telling me that I was a thief who had no business mucking around inside the trunk.

Maybe technology is just set up to make us all feel like idiots (it’s working). I spoke with a friend the other day who is in the process of setting up a fancy new office and has purchased a big expensive computer program for it. She doesn’t want much. She (a) wants it to work the way it’s supposed to, and (b) she wants some way to problem-solve for herself, since she’s not a dummy. She wants a user manual.

Not too much to ask of a company you are giving thousands of dollars to, is it?


After dealing with voice mail hell many times (when did society pass a rule that it is absolutely against the law for any business to allow a warm-blooded human being – or even a cold blooded gecko – to actually speak to a customer?), she finally managed to find a way around all the menu walls that allow workers to go on extended coffee breaks while customers throw their telephones across the room. She asked how she could get a users manual for her big fancy expensive computer program.

"We don’t have them," she was told. "We haven’t made user manuals in 5 years."


They went back and forth about this. How can you sell a computer program and not supply a manual?

Well, that’s just their policy. They don’t make users manuals.

I don’t remember all the details now, but ultimately they discovered that what she really wanted was a user’s guide! The dummy idiot imbecile customer rep on the telephone told her that if she wanted a guide, she should have said "guide" and not insisted on a manual.

I dunno. Maybe they’re hiring people out of high school these days. Maybe these people have never heard the term "manual." But wouldn’t you think that if you were selling thousands of dollars worth of computer software, you’d hire someone who could at least know that "manual" and "guide" were at least kinda sorta the same thing?

Let’s not even go to those web sites that we all have been referred to for "customer service" on the computer equipment we have purchased. Ever try to find an actual contact number or e-mail address? No. You have to go through the damn FAQs and if you happen to have some sort of oddball problem, just try and find out how to contact the company (and then how to make your question understood by the representative in Hong Kong or New Delhi who is actually answering the phone–and who may very well be an intelligent, competent person, but who can’t make him/herself understood.)

And then there are those teeny boppers who make major medical decisions for HMOs, overriding the order of the physician who has had years of training and practice to diagnose illness. I’ve had my fill of those from years of working in medical offices as well.

Is it any wonder why people go postal these days?

Technology is out to get us. I think you have to be 12 and have grown up with computer games to live in the world today. Those of us who have passed into our golden years and remember a time when people used to smile and say "can I help you? "– and did -- haven’t got a chance.


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Weight Lost to date:  46.8 lbs

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Created 1/19/04