Rendered Fat Content


Ohara Koson: Monkey and Moon (Ca. 1900 - 20)
A long armed monkey is trying to catch the reflection of the full moon on the water surface.

"I sometimes, briefly, become the destroyer of my own world …"

I have been using the same blog software for fifteen years but I just barely understand how to use it. It sometimes gives me fits, crashing or otherwise inhibiting my simple demands for it. I chose it over the more popular alternatives because it's a native Mac application and so it works more intuitively, or so I tell myself. It mostly works without me having to know how it works. I'm confident that I only know about 1% of its features, but I almost never need to know any more than that. When I get into trouble, a User Forum provides a channel to connect with users who know one heck of a lot more than 1% of the system's operation. When the User Forum's stumped, I can resort to the developers' help desk, which, being located in Brighton, England, usually takes until the next day to get back to me. It might be every app user's dream to be the one to uncover some fatal flaw in their chosen application, to report it to the developers, and to have them heap praise on the one user who helped them avert absolute disaster. No, that's never happened for me, either. We usually find that my ISP has been messing with me or that I've inexplicably gotten tangled up in my own underpants. I tend to be the source of almost all of my so-called TechnicalProblems.

I complain about the technology, but I increasingly understand that I'm actually complaining about myself.
I made a decision over thirty years ago, back when I first started using these Barbie and Ken computers, that I would steadfastly not learn their internals. I would not learn how to use them to code, for instance, for I'd worked with programmers and so I held an understanding about just what a time sink coding could become. Intended to produce some short-cut process, coding tended to be a way to spend a weekend accomplishing something that a) could have been done manually in a matter of minutes or b) never really warranted doing. For the coder, owning a Barbie and Ken computer could be rather like a teen-ager owning a junker car. He spends a lot more time fixing it than driving it. I wanted to use my computer as a tool not as a profession, so I have steadfastly avoided learning much more than pull down menus. I do not know very many keyboard equivalents and I usually can't imagine any advanced functions. I fancy myself a 'normal' user, by which I mean I'm rather stupid and undemanding.

I do sometimes scare myself when using my blog software. Once each year, on New Year's Day, I'm called to change the copyright date in the system. This requires updating three (or is that four?) different places within the system, three (or four?) places I visit precisely once per year. The first year I used the software, it took me about a week to ferret out where those changes needed to occur. Last year, it took less than an hour. Occasionally, other more formidable changes seem necessary, and these I either accomplish via the hunt and peck method or by simply deciding that I don't really need them. I could hypothetically change the content of the right hand margin on my blog's display, but that's controlled by coding so I stay away. The system default's pretty much fine for me. Since the software's not Wordpress, an absolutely unusable alternative, nobody else knows how it works, either, except for those on the User Forum or the developers, but I can't even imagine how to start that conversation. I let sleeping monsters lie.

Yesterday, after a couple of hours of work, I updated my blog only to learn that I'd inadvertently updated it backwards. This initiated a sort of chess match between me and the app, where I attempted to convince the app to do my bidding without really knowing what I was doing. This was largely a monkey mind monologue wherein I was very likely just outsmarting myself, but as a user of fifteen years standing, I felt fully qualified to help. I tried several alternatives, none of which seemed to work, though they might have worked and my cache refused to confirm it. I'd decided to just delete that morning's entry and rebuilt it, and thought I'd ordered that, when it appeared that I'd somehow deleted my entire fifteen years of entries, my entire blogging oeuvre evaporated. More than my heart sank. I roused The Muse to help and, to her credit, she came, even knowing that whatever the problem, it was very likely self-inflicted again. An hour later, an hour spent sweating ballistic missiles, I determined that the problem had been between the chair and the keyboard again and that my life's work had not been deleted, but remained secure.

The TechnicalProblems I have experienced so far have essentially all been of this same dimension. They're no more TechnicalProblems than I'm technical, and we long ago established that I would steadfastly avoid ever even becoming accusable of that. It's a matter of considerable pride now, that I'm a naive user, that I'm the one who can never manage to connect to the printer, that I'm the one who can't reliably connect to the 5G, either. My Pastwords escape me. Details slip right by. I'm probably a release or two behind. But I remain true to my vision for myself. I remain a writer, never a coder. A poet, not a troubleshooter. I'm the guy who serially shoots himself in his own foot and calls that hunting. I sometimes, briefly, become the destroyer of my own world, but I do my backups. Of course I have no idea how to recover should I crash but I always humbly apologize when I ask The Muse to untangle my strings. She usually consents.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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