November 15, 2007
Each week, as I hunker down to write this column I open up my laptop, click on my template and am greeted by a blank file page.
As I begin to bang on my keyboard I am reminded, on occasion, how this is a far cry from the times when writers would open a book, spy a blank page and, taking pen or pencil in hand, begin to record their High Points. We have come a long way.
Technology today makes just about everything easier. But for those of us who toil in the muck of writing a weekly column it is amazing how revolutionary the evolution of the computer age has been in changing our lives. Rarely do I speak to an editor. E-mail takes care of that. Need to check spelling? Press a button and presto, a dictionary opens on my screen and not only details my mistakes, but offers a myriad of suggested fixes for all sorts of problems. God forbid I write in a passive voice.
And if I need to know something about anything or anything about something, then Google is just a click away. I can find the population of Poland or the latitude of Lapland. I can check how many home runs Troy Tulowitzki hit in his rookie year and how many singles Ted Williams hit in his final year. I can find the difference between an emu and an ostrich without leaving the comfort of my couch.
Ah, but technology has its bugs as well, and the trauma inflicted when Safari won’t open, AOL continues to crash, the Wi-Fi fizzles or the laptop simply won’t boot is, well, traumatic.
I found myself in this position this week. Deadlines, and Fed Ex drop-offs loomed in the future and here I was without the tools of the trade to complete my appointed rounds. What to do? Well, personally I always handle these situations well. First, I swear. I swear lewdly, loudly and a lot. Then I stop and try to figure out exactly what the problem is, as if I know anything at all about the vagaries of the bits and bytes that run through the microprocessors and bring information out of the air and into my computer.
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Once this fails, as it invariably does, I swear some more and begin to ask why a god would select me for personal technological torture. Finally, I call India and begin the process of trying to find all of the passwords, security codes and serial numbers that I keep ” where else? ” on my nonfunctioning computer.
It is about this time that I again ponder just how far we have come and then begin to reconsider if we have, in fact, come so far. Do I really need to know the latitude of Lapland? And let’s face it, Ted Williams has been frozen for, what, a decade? Who really cares how many singles he hit in his twilight? And you know, I really don’t need suggestions from my box about my passivity.
Perhaps the thing to do is act like an emu and place my head in the sand, missing my deadlines, forgetting about Fed Ex and basically getting back to basics.
Or is it ostriches that bury their heads in the sand?
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