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ANALOG GIRL IN A DIGITAL WORLD


I’m sick of it. I hate computers. I wrote this in longhand because Dave, my computer is in the shop again with the second virus this week. My computer guy tells me someone in Romania is trying to fleece me of my millions. He says that hacking isn’t illegal in Romania, so some very smart guy is getting people to send him their credit cards to rid the computer of the virus. The virus stays but the money goes bye bye.

When they aren’t succumbing to Romanian viruses, computers never do what the instructions say they’ll do. I think the folks who write the manuals do what some cooks do who are known for miles around for their beaten biscuits.

Some mothers-in-law, for instance, when asked for the recipe, will sweetly write it out on an index card for you but “forget” one small, key ingredient. So, when you religiously follow the directions your husband says of the finished product, “Good, but somehow it doesn’t taste like Mom’s”

Tech writers do this. They leave out a step that “anyone would know to take,” and then of course when you don’t get the desired result after following each minute step—well anyone would have known to hit ctrl + x. Except me. What should happen is that the computer companies hire me to beta test before sending their products out (You should be very impressed that I know what that means). If I can make it work, it’s truly user friendly. Or possibly idiot proof.

I have a cell phone that I often remember to bring with me. It makes and receives phone calls. That’s it. No texting, no speed dialing, no taking pictures—just phone calls. For a brief period, I tried one of those uber-genius gadgets that did everything. It gave me recipes for dinner and generated a shopping list for the ingredients. It figured out how many calories I was taking in and computed how many steps I’d need to take to use up the calories. Counted the steps, too.

It could do everything but make and receive phone calls. When someone would call, I would try to answer and it would immediately cut off the caller, whom I would call back, but who invariably was dialing me again. After a lengthy standoff, we might eventually connect. When I tried to call out, it would connect me with someone I didn’t want to talk to, probably from Romania. I finally traded it in for my primitive phone, Eunice.

Cars! Don’t get me started. When Carlotta, my 20-year-old Chevy (120 in human years) was finally showing her age in unlovely ways, such as not starting when I desperately needed to be somewhere and stalling on the freeway, I sold her to an unsuspecting teenager and bought Yakisoba, my new(ish) Japanese car. One of those cars with a pushed in face like a pug dog. She came equipped with a built-in-Yenta that gets alarmed if I don’t fasten my seatbelt immediately. Same with passengers. She yammers at me if I’m low on gas or oil, tells me I left the keys in the car or the door ajar. I know I should be grateful, but I hate a nag.

Let’s just go back to crank windows that you could open with a wire clothes hanger when you locked your keys in. I’m nostalgic for an “H” transmission with three forward gears, which is all any self-respecting American needs.

Let’s bring back dial telephones and cords that attach them to the wall, so you never lose them. Also, the manual typewriter I bought in my sophomore year of college and used for the next 30 years (with a lot of white-out). It didn’t become obsolete within a couple of years and have to be replaced.

Let’s wear wristwatches with dial faces. Let’s all become Luddites and do without all these digital gadgets. Well, except for microwave ovens, without which a great many of us, present company included, would starve.

Here is my favorite microwave recipe. It is for when that chocolate urge comes over you and you know you’re going to perish if you don’t get a quick infusion of chocolate into you.

Practically Instantaneous Microwave Fudge

1 lb box confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

½ cup cocoa

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup milk

1 tbs vanilla extract

½ cup butter

1 cup chopped nuts (optional, but just don’t tell me!)

Stir all but butter and nuts together in a 1 ½ qt dish until blended. Top with the butter. Microwave at high 2 minutes. Stir smooth. Blend in the nuts. Pour into wax paper lined 8-in. square dish. Chill. Cut into squares, eat and swoon. Or go into insulin shock.

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