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Is Progress Our Most Important Product?

Aug 17, 2007
Okay. I admit it. I'm electronically challenged. I have trouble using an electric can opener, an electric pencil sharpener - even an electric toothbrush.

My husband, on the other hand - the hand holding a fistful of extension cords - loves electronic gadgets. It's a guy thing, which I'm sure Freud would have said related somehow to a man's relationship with his penis.

Anyway...when John brought home an answering machine, I was intimidated by its buttons and flashing lights. That piece of plastic progress let my dentist remind me about appointments and let my son's teacher ask me to chaperone more class trips.

Before I was on speaking terms with the answering machine, my husband brought home a VCR. More buttons and flashing lights - more unappreciated progress. When the VCR came in, we stopped going out to movies, which meant we stopped going out to dinner after the movies.

As soon as the VCR and I had come to an understanding, it was replaced with a DVD player - new buttons, flashing lights and - confusion.

Then there's my computer. Although I use it for word processing, e-mail and accessing the Internet, my husband assures me it can balance my checkbook, pay bills and do our taxes more efficiently than I can. Fine, but I bet it's not as efficient as I am when it comes to making excuses for not doing those things.

Electronically, I didn't change as fast as the world around me until TIVO was invented. I love TIVO! It was obviously invented for the electronically challenged. I haven't had such clear, step-by-step directions how to use a machine since I was sixteen and had a "Caution! Student Driver" sign on the back of the car.

Of course, TIVO, like every invention, began with an idea - which means inventors haven't thought about dust. No one has invented an electronic, multi-buttoned, light-flashing, dust eliminator.

In contrast, the progress in space travel has given us such down-to-earth inventions as Teflon, Velcro and Tang. Okay, Tang wasn't a giant leap for mankind; but man continues to take small steps toward progress and I continue to trip over them.

John recently brought home a combination copier/fax/printer/scanner. I'm surprised it doesn't make coffee too. I'm trying to keep up with one invention at a time. I'm not ready for electronic multi-tasking.

The only invention that doesn't make me feel like an outsider is indoor plumbing.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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http://knightwatch.typepad.com
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