Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pork Chops and Printers

I sometimes get into lifelong feuds with inanimate objects. I know it sounds ridiculous. It sounds ridiculous because it IS ridiculous. And yet, it’s true. Take pork chops, for example.
As I often remark to my husband, “Pork hates me.” I can cook pork chops that are all exactly the same weight and thickness, yet their cooking times vary by, oh, up to an hour. I’ll throw one in for 15 minutes and it’ll turn into shoe leather, yet another one exactly the same size and shape will still be raw an hour later. This never happens to my husband. I have never seen him cook a pork chop badly. And yet there are no noticeable differences between his cooking techniques and my cooking techniques (both techniques being, “slap on Shake N Bake, place in oven” – it’s not exactly rocket science). The only possible explanation I can come up with is that pork hates me.
Computers and their accessories are often the same way. They hate me. They MOCK me. I follow the directions on the screen to the letter and nothing happens. My husband comes over, does EXACTLY the same thing I just did and the damn machine purrs to life like an overexcited kitten.
This is even more embarrassing in this age of technology when things practically install themselves. I installed a new printer this morning that has a touch screen. It explains what to do, it shows you a cartoon diagram, it even has a little animated movie so you can watch the ink cartridges magically fly into place. And yet, when I “flew” the cartridges into place with my fat little fingers, all I got was a blinking instruction snidely telling me that it would go on to the next step when I’d done it right.
It’s a good thing I didn’t have a sledgehammer handy.
I popped all five cartridges out and back in again, I slid the little tray left and right, I opened and closed every door and tray and flap that I could find, but I still got the obnoxiously cheerful little message smugly telling me it would go on when I’d done it right. I was starting to think it was a lot less cheerful and a lot more obnoxious. I watched the animation three more times and reinstalled the cartridges. Nothing. Finally, I stomped out of the room like a petulant 2-year-old (I have a great example of that hanging around my house). When I came back, my husband calmly announced that I hadn’t seated the cartridges so they made a little “click.” “Click”? There was no “click” in the animated movie. There was no mention of a “click” in the cheery message on the screen. Seriously, how hard is it to animate a little bubble with the word “click” in it?
Did I mention how fortunate it was that I didn’t have a sledgehammer handy?
Anyway, with a bit of extra help from my live-in IT guru, I finally managed to install my printer. The last step of the installation was printing a test photo, which didn’t work because I got a paper jam that the “wizard” wasn’t aware of, so the “wizard” cheered that I’d done it right when, in fact, the printer was mocking me yet again with a flashing red light and a decided lack of actual, you know, printing. But I did make it print a regular document, and when it finished, it played a little “tah dah!” like it expected me to give it a round of applause or a cookie or something. Yeah, I’ll give it something, all right. Like a knuckle sandwich.

Eh, pork chops and printers. They might not agree with me much, but fortunately, neither of them is nearly as important as they think they are. And also, my husband is always willing to beat them into submission for me. And that’ll do rather nicely.

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