Back in the day, boldly and alone, I railed against the inevitable encroachment on my life of the personal computer. Memory is already fading on those brief halcyon days when the internet was just a hyped promise to get us on some vague “information highway”, but all it had yet done was to more efficiently transport pornography across state lines. I knew I couldn’t put a stopper in the culture’s insatiable lust for new technology, but while I still had breath, I continued to rant about the lunacy of workplace management and the lemmings they called employees.
PCs couldn’t do anything more than what a sturdy electric typewriter and a good fax machine had been doing, but both were being quickly jettisoned for these enormous television-like sets that took a quarter of your diminishing desk space, with its’ the small refrigerator size box that pinged and panged next to your feet and its’ ridiculously unmanageable rat’s nest of cables and wires.
At the end of the day office computers were nothing more than what had been termed “word processors”. That was our culture’s first non-government introduction to the concept of taking something pedestrian and giving it an Orwellian name to obscure and justify its’ ambiguous New World role. Typewriters did what their name said they did, they “wrote type” and you could un-jam a key with the eraser end of your pencil or gingerly replace a ribbon when the going got tough, but now simple typewriting was a techno “process” which was hidden, unfathomable and apparently none of your business.
“Let me ask you something”, I would seriously say to anyone who would listen. “If I came to your company and told you I had a new kind of pencil to replace your current way of writing information on paper, would you buy it? If I told you these new pencils – powered by electricity with six black cables connected up to it - would each cost about $5000 each, would require you to hire at least one new full time employee to walk around from desk to desk all day long to make sure all the pencils were working, would require you to accept the fact that when a ‘glitch’ happened from time to time, you would need to expect and fully accept that everything you had written all day long with that pencil would instantly and irretrievably be erased. (And when that happened, all you could do would be to turn it off, wait a few minutes and hope it would let you redo all of your work again.) Tell me”, I would ask, “would you jump at the chance to own one of these new little marvels of mine?”
People would laugh like they did when Jerry Senfield asked why hotdogs came in packs of ten, but hotdog buns in packs of twelve. All acknowledged the obvious illogic and plain truth, but no one ever had any intention of doing anything about it. They would keep buying those hot dogs and buns and submit themselves to whatever fate and waste had been decided for them.
A NEW DAY DAWNS
But before you write me off as a stuck-in-his-ways old codger, let me tell you that I have not only long ago made peace with my computer and the internet, but now I love them both. I love them like a redneck loves his truck, like your kid loves his binky, like a crackhead loves his crackpipe, Love them, love them, love them.
There is an episode of the old Twilight Zone TV series, where a teenager of the future adamantly refuses to subject herself to the culture’s and technology’s expectation to make-over her earthy face and awkward body into one of three possible streamlined mannequin-like visages. She screamed and cried and spoke eloquently of individuality and what it meant to be human, but then after the final commercial, she stepped out from that now-not-so-unbelievable machine which had fashioned her into Model Number 3, and looking at herself in the mirror, joyfully turns to her friend and says, “And the best part of it Val, is that I look just like you”. A few cynical words through Rod Serling’s clinched teeth and then the final fade out.
Yes, I am one of you and I am happy about it.
A NOW ON WITH THE SHOW
Now my long time friend, compatriot, separated-at-birth brother and partner in crime, Keith Roland (hither to referred to as “the Kingfish”) has dragged me kicking and screaming into my next cyber adventure - blogging.
I say, kicking and screaming, but that is only for dramatic effect, because I don’t kick and scream like I used to. I’ve learned long ago that every concert, tradeshow or movie he has dragged me kicking and screaming into, has been for the most part, of great benefit to my soul. There actually are a few exceptions, but we’re both married now and I digress.
Still, I wrestle with this whole blog concept and how I fit into it. I’m a big compulsive reader. I read the cereal box through a sleepy haze during breakfast, I read the women’s magazine’s at Fast Cuts, I read the McDonald’s receipt at the stoplight and I’ve been known to pick up other ephemera trampled underfoot, just out of curiosity at what I might have missed.
So naturally, I love reading blogs and am no stranger to them. In fact a couple of years ago, I was hired to write and produce a video based on a series of blogs written by some guy whose ramblings had developed a following.
But now I have my own. Where the hell do I fit into this? Who the hell cares what I have to say? Blogs run the gamut from the most absolutely brilliant, insightful and informative to the most worthless pieces of unintelligent drabble imaginable, butchering spelling and the simple grammar as they go. Where does my little boat fit into this ethereal sea of words?
I guess I am going to find out.
Perhaps I have unconsciously made this diatribe long and tedious so as to loose most of you and get you off of my scent. Only the die-hard blog reader - or my mother – could possibly be hanging on up to this paragraph. So if that’s you, thank you. You deserve some kind of reward. Like the end of this monologue.
Now into the blog…..