Friday, January 14, 2011

Computers vs. The Genuinely Irate

My grandmother used to say, "Isn't it a good thing we aren't all made the same?" when one of us was complaining about another family member, a boss, a teacher or someone else. When it comes to computers, websites and the like, I have to admit she was so right.

My daughter, Lisa set up my website, found so many of the pictures, and now has re-configured the Blog so I can actually use it. I'm a writer, period, the end. Not an artist, not a photographer (a fact my poor editors are painfully reminded of from time to time; my photos for them tend to be pass or fail. On occasion, they make the front cover of Ozarks Farm & Neighbor; other days, I get a call, do you have more photos? Can you re-shoot these?) and certainly, not computer savvy!

I wrote my first book, 25 years ago, with a pencil on white typing paper (that's what we called it, not computer paper or copy paper. It was typing paper because back then that's what we still did - TYPE!) I stilll love the challenge of a blank sheet of paper and freshly sharpened pencils or smooth writing pens. Then I typed  the manuscript of over two hundred pages on a manual typewriter which was accepted by a traditional publisher. For the current generation, that would be just a step or two beyond chiseling it onto stone tablets.

I have no patience when it comes to computers and their ilk. When it doesn't work the way it is supposed to, I quickly lose my patience and sometimes, even my religion when I just rail at the beast. For more than 10 years, I worked for the Laclede County Sheriff's Department, where I often was confronted with people from all walks of life, with a variety of problems or challenges that brought them through our doors. I used to say, sooner or later, people from every socio-economic group, come through the door of the sheriff's department. Some do so because they run afoul of the law; others because they are the victims of that first group; still others, are relatives of that same group and others come because they need permits or other specifics from the chief law enforcement officer of the county. I found I had a lot of patience, even with the most difficult ones, as long as I was dealing with a living breathing person. A recording on the other end of the phone line, not so much.

Today, it is the young and computer savvy who easily wend their way through the electronic mazes devised by the psychologically sadistic (otherwises known as computer programmers, gurus, and hackers) that hold many in modern society, hostage to one extent or another. As Grandma would put it, "I am thankful that we don't all think alike" and I am particularly grateful to my own computer wizards, like my daughters and husband, who get me out of the computer pits, I manage to dig myself into quite often. And to all the rest, next time you need an inmate talked out of or into a cell, an irate homeowner calmed down or a bureaucratic official convinced to do things my way, give me a call!

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