Does Nothing Work Anymore?

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We had one of those chicken-with-its-head-cut-off days yesterday. First the ol’ Share button stopped working. For no reason. Then we had to get Patty’s prescription refilled. Come at such and such a time, the pharmacist told her on the phone.

So off we go to Wal-Mart–and they don’t have it. “We won’t get it till Tuesday,” said the pharmacist. It’s a breathing medication. Like, maybe my wife can hold her breath till then.

We had to get it at another Wal-Mart in another township. The directions from Map Quest were hopeless. I knew the area just well enough to realize that the directions they’d given us were nothing but directions for getting lost.

I stopped at a gas station and asked, “How do I get to Centennial Avenue?” The attendant’s answer was unintelligible. I have no idea what he thought I was asking him.

I don’t know about you, but it’s gotten to the point where I expect things not to work and people not to do what they say they’re going to do.

5 comments on “Does Nothing Work Anymore?

  1. I think that life has become too complex and that this is affecting us all, to one degree or another. It’s just gotten to be too much, too many choices, too many things clamoring for our attention. Noting is simple anymore and the balance has shifted from dealing with matters as they come along to attempting to manage matters in a world of continuous change.

    I’m not quite able to retire yet, but I’m looking forward to it more and more, not because I don’t want to work, but because I need some repose. Everything one does, these days, holds a real danger of spinning out of control and becoming much more complex than it needs to be.

    In my line of work, there are endless meetings while various technical experts try to come to an agreement of what to do next. For example, a change in the anti-virus software used on workstations can have an effect upon the operation of applications used on that workstation, so even routine updates can trigger problems which are not easily resolved. If it all goes wrong, the result is workers unable to do their jobs. OTOH, failing to have adequate malware protection could expose a company to ransom ware which encrypts data and only allows you to recover that data by paying off cyber criminals.

    Now, think of this; with the exception of software applications, none of what I mentioned in the paragraph above existed 40 years ago. Yes, there were software applications on computers that people accessed from a terminal, but there were no computers on people’s desks, no such thing as a laptop and anti virus software was hardly needed when computers were managed by professionals and the handful of self-replicating “viruses” were usually gags which were the computer equivalent of “Kilroy was here”, popping up on occasion.

    The complexity which has allowed our economy to burgeon has brought with it some very significant costs, which have robbed us of the ability to disengage from complexity. As I write, I am on my porch, have just finished a cup of coffee, and I am enjoying the pleasantness of a peaceful morning, but this is the rare exception in modern life. During the workweek, it’s not at all uncommon for me to be communicating with several people at once, addressing numerous problems and developing a headache. By the next day, there are an entirely new set of problems and it’s all but impossible from one day to the next, to know what to expect. And this is when things are going well. When something goes wrong, it can trigger 16 hour workdays and conference calls at midnight.

    Here’s the thing, this is not at all unique to me; untold numbers of people are in the same boat. It’s not the sweatshop, but it is no more humane. Even in trades which are not directly high-tech, the complexity of regulations and the tsunami of new product developments is beyond anything imaginable, just a generation ago. Change itself has become a formidable force.

  2. OMGosh! You must have heard me from here New Jersey on Saturday screaming “Nothing works anymore”! Support Assist for my comp, my comp, the vacuum cleaner, the window wouldn’t open, a lamp died, the new speakers, the printer, bubble wrap didn’t stick to the window, and CHINA!!!

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