Beauty Queen

I stared into the monitor screen and read what I had spent the last three hours writing. Nodding approval I commented, “Good…I like that” Still looking at the screen, my fingers began to tap out more words. Only one more sentence and my article would be finished. The keyboard under my hands seemed to groan when I leaned on it during a pause in my typing.

Electronic keyboards don’t make a satisfying tappity-tap sound when you type. The only sound the plastic keys make is a soft, whispery rustle. They do a good job, though. Those plastic keys send what I write to the metal box that sits on my desk and is called a tower. Inside this temple of information tower, small gods of binary code record and save what I have written.

Several minutes later I stopped to read again. This time I frowned and destroyed my newest words. Leaning forward, I tapped out another sentence…this one was better. A new idea suddenly flashed into my mind. I quickly revised what I had written and added more. This time, reading what I wrote made me laugh and congratulate myself, “Good! That worked out just the way I wanted!”

My final job for the evening was to make a paper copy of my article so I could give it to my friend, Val, who reads for me. Using the mouse, I pointed the computer cursor at the printer icon and clicked. Nothing happened. Wasn’t my printer on? I leaned over and looked. The glowing green light indicated that it was indeed on. A message box blinked up onto my screen. It said, “There is a problem with your default reset time.”

I stared at the message for several minutes. What did that mean? I could read the words…they were in English…but the meaning of the sentence kept eluding my comprehension. Grumbling, and huffing and puffing my indignation, I turned the printer off, and then back on. Did that help? No! The machine refused to print, and that cryptic message about my default time reappeared on the computer screen.

Next, I tried pressing the printer-reset button, and straightening the machine’s supply of paper. Crossing my fingers, I clicked the printer icon for the third time. My printer remained quiet, and the mysterious default message popped back up onto the screen.

Slumping in defeat, I woefully looked at my high-tech equipment, and wondered what to do. When something goes wrong with it, I immediately assume that I am to blame for its failure to function. Mentally, I backtracked all the work I did that evening… Had I accidentally changed a default time without knowing it? There are so many buttons on an electric keyboard, it could easily happen!

The following morning I called a computer repair shop, and told a young man what sort of problem I was having. I concluded by asking, “What am I doing wrong?”

Diplomatically, the young man on the other end of the line said, “It’s hard to say without seeing the machine. Several things could be wrong. What is the model number of your printer and how old is it?”

I gave the model number and assured him, “We bought it only four years ago.”

With an all knowing tone in his voice, the young man said, “That’s a very old machine!”

My printer isn’t old! I exclaimed, “I told you it was FOUR years old, NOT FORTY years old!”

“Ma’am, I heard you right. Several new models have been made since you bought your printer. In the computer world, your printer is outdated…old!”

When Arnie came home from work I told him, “The man at the computer store said our printer is old.”

My husband gave me a questioning look, “Old?”

I nodded, “From what I understand, these high tech machines have a shorter work life than models and beauty queens.”

Arnie likes to get to the bottom line quickly. He asked, “So what does that mean? Can the default reset time be changed, or is the printer broken?”

With a slight frown I answered, “As far as I can make out, it isn’t broken. The default message is just the printer’s way of telling me it wants to retire. If you translate the message properly, it’s REALLY saying, ‘Are you talkin to me? Get lost!’”

 

 

 

 

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