At work Monday, I was called upstairs, where a woman was giving a presentation to a meeting. I was there because her computer would not put her PowerPointless crap presentation on the screen through the ceiling-mounted projector. Bear in mind thatr this was HER laptop computer, not mine, and she expected ME to make it work. The first thing I noticed was that the cable from the wall box for the projector was not connected to her laptop. Her explanation was "But the computer is wireless!" While simmering inside, I explained that the projector was not wireless, and it didn’t apply. I got the cable, brought it to the laptop, and while I was tightening the connector, told her to switch the video to the socket on the back, so that it would send the signal to the projector. She just looked at me with a bewildered expression, and had no idea what I meant. I, rather patiently I thought, showed her how to hold down the function key and press the number key with the little blue TV on it, and the screen popped up on the projector, and thus on the big screen. She was relieved, and thanked me "so much" for helping her out. I went back to my office. Less than five minutes later, I was called back upstairs. Seems the woman had sound with her PowerPointless program, and was not pleased with the crummy sound from the speakers built into her laptop, and wanted to know if I had "better speakers" she could use. I told her that I did not, and that she would just have to get along with what she had. She had the gonads to want to know why I did not have better speakers. I showed great restraint in not exploding on the whacko, and told her that we expect presenters to know how to use their own equipment, be rehearsed, and bring what they need to do their presentation, and rolled away. After the meeting, I think she felt guilty, and came to my office to thank me again for my help. I had to ask her if she had rehearsed this thing ahead of time, and she said no. Before I could go into a tirade, she went into another whiney story about her mother having no TV, because she just didn’t know about this "converting" thing, and she could no longer get the stations. I asked if her mother had a fairly new TV, and she thought that the TV was about 6 or seven years old. I asked if her mother had a converter box, and she said yes, her mother had sent for the coupon from the government, and had bought a box from Radio Shack, but did not know what to do with it. I asked if she and her mother had tried to read the book that came with the converter, and she said no, that those things were "just too complicated." At that point, I lowered the boom on her, telling her that the books for both her computer and the converter box were carefully written so that anyone with a room-temperature IQ could understand either, and to find any 4th grader in her mother’s neighborhood who had not been educated beyond their intelligence to hook up the box. She left angry.
Yesterday, a woman came into my sanctorum from another department upstairs. Turns out she knows the presenter woman, who has a masters in marketing (and is still incompetent, IMHO) and it seems the biddy was offended by my "attitude". What a shame. At any rate, this woman had seen presenter woman at church, who had explained that she and her mother had found, actually, a 7th grader in the neighborhood, who, in less than 20 minutes, had hooked up the converter box, done a channel scan, configured mother’s TV to receive only channel 3 (for the box) and AUX (for the DVD player), and explained to the apparently thick mother how to use the remote for the box. Old mother was just all thrilled to find out that now, instead of six channels, she had twenty four (that digital broadcasting is badass, huh?) and the picture looked so much better! Hmmph.
Years ago, the first UHF TV station came to town, WBMG 42. Those younger than me will not remember this, but TVs in those days came only with VHF tuners, channels 2-13. In order to receive the new channel, people had to buy a UHF converter box which attached to their TV, and output on channel 3 or 4 on their TV, much like the digital boxes of today. The government did not offer discount coupons. The propaganda included with those old UHF converters, if any, was not nearly as good as now, and most folks had to buy a new antenna in addition. Those who did not want to screw with the converters simply bought a new "modern" TV with the UHF tuner built in. I was just a kid when all this went down, but I do not remember whining and hand-wringing. People just adapted.
Today, apparently, adapting is a lost art. People these days are whiny, helpless, and to large extent, useless in day-to-day living. I sometimes imagine a cataclysm, and can picture the Volvos and BMWs descending on what is left of the drug stores, and fist fights breaking out over the last Prozac.
Let us do the math - I do this little rant not to aggrandize myself, but merely as a demonstration. I am not a particularly brave or tough guy, but was raised with the idea that I would have to take care of myself, for the most part. I am an insulin-dependent diabetic. I have had two major heart attacks, and have a pacemaker. I am a bi-lateral below-knee amputee, and wear prostheses. Medicare did not buy my mobility scooters, or the hand controls for my car. I am still working. I still ride my motorscooters. I do my own yard work. If something breaks, I fix it, not because I am an electromechanical genius, but because I can read at more than a 4th grade level, and thus do the research.
Pick it up, people. Let us get seriously independent, lest we end up as we are now headed. Not a pretty destination…