Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Trials and Tribulations of a Technotard

As I sit here seething about my inability to make this website flash and whiz and bang and dance the Macarena and show dirty pictures of John McCain, I realize that I am nothing short of computarded. I’ve never been a computer geek, but I used to be competent, or so I thought. I used to be able to… oh, who am I kidding, back in the day, I couldn’t even turn on Tetris without help.

It’s always been like this. I’ve always had some sort of adversarial relationship with technology. It’s not just computers; it’s all circuits and wires and gyros and sprockets and gizmos and other stuff that is too advanced for me to even know the name for it. Seriously, it is as if I’m The Joker and Radio Shack is the BatCave. I shouldn’t venture in there, because if I do, the walls will close in and Radio Shackman will drop from the ceiling and beat me to death with a power strip surge protector or a remote control monster truck.

I think it all began when I was eight. My dad sent me scampering out into the cold biting wind to plug in the front porch Christmas lights. Standing knee deep in snow and inserting the frosty prongs (which would make a good nickname for someone) into the outlet, I was zapped. Now we’re not talking a major electrical storm the street lights dim and lightning shoots out my ear holes type of zap – this was a straight forward jerk your arm, knock you on your butt, make you pee a little, and let you know that fire = bad sort of event. However, ever since that day I believe I may have been cursed/blessed with a minor super power: the ability to render small electronic appliances utterly useless. What constitutes a small electronic appliance? – Anything with more buttons than my belly, more wires than a tightrope act, or enough bleeps and bloops to achieve resident status in Circuit City. I firmly believe that my power is so strong that if I happened to stumble across a pair of bank robbing super villains who were armed with a waffle iron and the remote for a garage door opener, I could thwart them by simply walking into the room and allowing those electronic devices to feel my presence.

(Why would someone rob a bank armed with only a kitchen convenience and a garage door clicker? I don’t have all the answers people. I just prevented a heist; what more do you want from me?)

The microwave oven has long been a nemesis of mine. Ever since my dad (yes, the same dad that sent me out into the snow to be electrocuted – sense the trust issues?) brought home our first microwave when I was a wee lad, I’ve had a fear of them. It seems unnatural, all sciencey and fictiony in an utterly frightening Frankenstein meets Salisbury steak kind of way. In time, I graduated from running out of the room while the waves microed my meals to merely using a cast-iron skillet to shield my privates during cooking box voo-doo. Now I’m a bit more rational, but I still won’t look directly at the thing, because I know it’s out to get me. I still have flashes of the door popping open mid-defrost, sending blue waves of molecule moving light into my eye sockets which will melt my face like I’ve been chasing Indiana Jones. In fact, the microwave was mocking me just the other day. In trying to make my Lean Pocket fall into the hot category, rather than the pastry-filled-with-ice-crystal-broccoli file, I some how agitated the microwave into locking. I was unaware that a microwave could lock, but that’s what the LED screen and the incessant beeping were telling me had happened. Why do microwaves have a lock function? Is it to prevent small boys from laser beaming household pets? That would be a commendable and responsible feature, but unlocking said oven shouldn’t require a NASA pass code and an engineering degree from The University of Confusingassshit. I was unable to unlock it, left with a Lukewarm-on-the-outside-still-a-little-bit-frozen-in-the-middle-unnaturally-chewy Pocket, and a day and a half later had to unplug the microwave to get it to let go.

My DVD player hates me just as much. Somehow my touch makes it go all wonky, and, in case you were unaware, that’s bad – mostly because if you look in the DVD player manual index you won’t find any guidance under the word Wonky. So how in the holy hell am I supposed to fix it? The stupid thing taunts me. It teases me. It knows I really want to watch a movie, so when I hit the open button to make the little tray come out – it comes out, but it shoots back in so fast you’d have to be a ninja to get a DVD onto the tray – and ninjas have far better things to be doing (lurking, sneaking, general butt whooping, ninja conference calls, sharpening of cool ninja throwing stars…) than to help me get Herbie Fully Loaded to play on my TV. Try as I might, I can’t get a disk into that machine. If I sit poised, with my movie positioned in just a way that no tray could possibly escape my DVD being deposited upon it – it doesn’t open. If I try to channel my inner-ninja and sneak it in there grasshopper/pebble style, the DVD jams the tray, gets all scratched up as the machine pushes it away, and falls to the ground. In the end I wind up with an intense desire to kick the DVD player’s face in, my son crying that Herbie must hate him, and a technology induced migraine.

I’m this incompetent and now people expect me to add a widget to this website? What the crap is a widget? Just that term, widget, gives me visions of demonically possessed Furbys and Digipets chasing me around like Dawn of the Dead meets Microsoft. When you say widget, I picture an evil robotic creature that wants to do me harm, but is more capable of injuring me than the television or the food processor, because this “widget” has legs and arms and thumbs – robotic thumbs that want to inflict upon me whatever degree of harm you can imagine robotic thumbs doing to a person. I’m imagining Satan’s Teddy Ruxpin - seemingly cute and cuddly with his story telling prowess and his soft brown eyes, but with just enough advanced circuitry that I know deep down inside he wants to kill me.

So, the bottom line – please excuse the lack of shiny sparkly doo-dads and embedded videos and streaming things which are meant to be streamed, because I don’t get it, I fear it, and it’s out to get me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go find a Rosie Jetson and give her a beat down.

If have an inherent distrust of Teddy Ruxpin and his circuit laden goons, vote for me at

Also check out enough funny to stop a robot army at


Jamie said...

Well welcome to the Humorblog club. I am so sorry for all oyur issues in your childhood. I think it may be helpful for you so seek help. I have a couch you can sit on...if you just want to get some things off you chest.

Don't worry, I am just as challenged ass you. I can't seem to keep up with all things to add to the blog for traffic.......I am drowning in terminolgy and feed burner. I can't even pronouch that techno..what ever.

Bee said...

Maybe your dad was secretly trying to make you in a an electro-charged superhero? Gah! You should be thanking him!

Widgets be with you.

Deb said...

"Frosty Prongs" HA!

I've been through the RSS/FeedBurner/Widget/Doohickey thing too. No fancy bells and whistles for me. Once it becomes 'work', then it's no fun.

Enjoy blogging!