If this is user-friendly, complicated must be the enemy

By Lynn Moncus

On occasion, we have visited about how fortunate some of us are to have been born in quieter times during which we were most definitely not surrounded by gadgets. Of course, the young people have the notion that we were deprived if not actually depraved because they cannot imagine life without the many luxuries of today.

Some of this current explosion was brought about by my garage door, which is supposed to be operated electrically and which is supposed to be a safe guard for the clutter in the garage. Well, as you can guess, it developed a mind of its own of late and has decided to go up and down randomly and to avoid obeying any directions sent out by the little dudes that are supposed to control it when we punch a button. It just goes up whenever it chooses and decides to stop at strange heights. It even gets to going up and down as if daring me to try to drive in or out.

In order to get it under control for the moment, it is now disconnected — meaning that I am getting a little extra exercise by operating the door by hand. Fortunately, it isn’t really heavy, but it is causing me to use colorful language each time I have to lift it or lower it. I guess I wouldn’t be so excited about its independence, but I sometimes am a bit careless about closing the door into the yard, thus leaving a chance for Aggie to escape. Now, that causes me to pause as she doesn’t need to be roaming the neighborhood, especially during the busier hours on the side street when cars speed by as if they are in one big hurry to get nowhere.

The problem with most of the gadgets we deal with is that we grow accustomed to using them and are down right spoiled because they sometimes make life a little easier when they are not causing major frustration. When the washer decides to go on strike, for instance, we are reminded of those days during which we used the rub board and had skinned knuckles at all times. Just pitching the laundry into that automatic machine is the hardest work we now do and get excited if we may have to wash a few items by hand.

If the dryer isn’t working too well, some of us are still lucky enough to have a real clothes line and can hang out the laundry so it can have that really fresh odor when we bring it in. In fact, I use that line on occasion because nothing smells cleaner than those sheets which have hung for an hour or so in the bright sunshine and have been tossed just a bit by the gentle breeze—not the gale force winds that send them to the next yard.

We won’t even discuss the gadgets we use in getting this column ready to take to the news office. They really cause major colorful language because they just naturally have to show the user who is boss. Who ever made up the term, “user-friendly,” had a vivid imagination and a strange sense of humor. Just about the time the user may think the infernal machine is friendly, it will turn faster than a rattlesnake, strike the user in the heart, and go on about its business.

So — I have become a slave to all these gadgets! If you miss me for a few days, just check to see which one attacked last and then take it to a high bluff from which you can pitch it to the depths! Unfortunately, it won’t even be good buzzard bait!