I have discovered the real reason that we have children and encourage our children to have children.
Last week, one of my lights went out. A blue dot, it had glowed on a dusty, black molded plastic device on the corner of my desk. Normally, since you can land airplanes from the various indicator lights shining around my house, I wouldn’t have cared or even noticed. However, when this little bastard committed suicide, he took the Internet with him.
[Just so you know, I’m not a Luddite. I love technology. But I’m a Techno-dinosaur. I don’t know a bit from a byte from a bot, and I don’t trust any of them because of my ignorance. Techno-answers elude me because I don’t know the right techno-questions to ask. In fact, I don’t even speak the language and — full disclosure — I don’t actually think in techno-terms. Technology and I are like two pages of a closed book: we touch at every point of our existence, but we’re completely different.]
Anyway … losing the Internet, without warning, was like suddenly being struck blind. The panic was palpable. I started thrashing around, waving my arms in the cyber darkness — propelling the mouse and hitting keys like a Rhesus monkey. “Reboot! Reboot! They always tell you to reboot.” I rebooted. I swore. I swore some more. I started randomly turning thing off and turning them back on again. I unplugged. I plugged. I reversed cables. I disconnected various wires and stuck them into a variety of other holes. I realized I couldn’t remember what went where, anymore. I unleashed a torrent of obscenities that is still hanging over the Pacific Ocean like a radioactive cloud. I stopped. I roared in frustration. I wept. I went for a walk. I came back, sat down and looked at the dismantled mess on my desk. This went on for three days and on the fourth day, I reached for the comfort of 2Oth century technology and telephoned my niece — my great-niece actually — on a land line.
Like Ground Control to Apollo 13, she methodically guided me through the reassembly process, calmly reconstructed the disaster, assessed the situation and isolated the problem.
“No, Uncle Bill! The Internet doesn’t hate you; it’s your modem.”
“No, you can’t fix it. You need to buy a new one. Why don’t you get a good one this time?”
Then, she spoke gibberish for a minute and a half, and I dutifully wrote it all down.
The next day, I went to the retail techno-scoundrels with the note from my niece. They pillaged my credit card and gave me a box large enough to hide their treachery. Inside, there was a new black molded plastic device and a pamphlet of illustrated instruction. I followed the instructions to the letter (picture?) plugged it in and — a miracle happened! There was a little green light, shining bravely in the sun-drenched summer afternoon, and I knew I had been delivered. I sank to my knees in praise of all that I know to be holy and thanked the Almighty that my sisters had indeed gone forth and multiplied. Now I understand that, without a second, third and even a fourth generation to guide us through the labyrinth of technology, it would run amok.
And from there, it would only be a matter of time before we found ourselves up to our elbows in Terminators.