I'll give you a f'rinstance. Some years ago, Bill Gates began his diabolic endeavor of enslaving us all to the mind-control rays emanating from our computers. So powerful has this monster become that he now laughs openly at us, the "users" of his accursed drug. This he does openly, as follows: whenever you wish to turn off a Windows computer, to break the Great Satan's mind lock, you must press "Start"!
Gates is saying: my power over you is so total that I can make you believe that black is white, down is up, off is on. Goebbels was big on that sort of thing. Overreacting, am I? The dust of time has fogged my spectacles, eh? Read on, zombies, this thing has gone much further than your trained minds can imagine.
I had the great good fortune to address the RIMS chapter in Palm Beach, Fla. a few months back. I chose not to regale them with stories of how they had handed over their inner selves to evil maniacs, because they seemed like nice people and were kind to me. Instead, I spoke about the Bermuda miracle, and how it was largely due to Uncle Sam's arrogance and monumental greed.
My travel agent had booked me to fly to Miami, even though there are nearer airports. (My travel agent will be dead, horribly dead, by the time you read this. Accidentally horribly dead, you dig?)
I therefore had to rent a car. Budget, after promising I could have one for $54, charged me $198. O.J. Simpson will be taking it up with Budget for me. But that's a story for my new book: "Fun With Bait & Switch".
In the Budget garage, I could not make the car start. I come from a time when automobiles had keys. No longer. They have beeping gadgets, and that, as the youngsters say, is tickety tonk.
Look at it from the manufacturer's perspective: why separate a buyer from $6,000 when you can add a few pointless gadgets and pick up $18,000? (And then lose $37 billion.)
My humiliation was complete when the Budget employee told me that to start the car ? just let me unclench my fists ... you have to first depress the brake pedal. To go, you must first stop.
Two days later, my New York City cell phone wouldn't come alive. No bars for me. No "Can you hear me now?" No nothing. I was snookered. I'd put $100 of pay-as-you-go (i.e. pay in advance) money into the damned thing, so I ventured into an ATT store, ready for a firefight. After checking out the phone, the 11-year-old shop assistant shot me a withering look.
"You dunno how ta toin it arn?" she asked.
"I doughnut," I replied, attempting to join in the fun of annihilating the English language.
"Ya press dis bu'ern," she said, with a sneer. It was the off button.
Of course it was the off button. How stupid could I have been? And to turn it off, I asked? "Ya press dis bu'ern," she said, indicating the same button.
As I say, I am old, very much more past than future. But I will never grasp why to make anything start, you must press stop, nor why anyone would accept that idea at the production process. Didn't one person say, "Wade a minnit, guyze! Dat's stoopit." Apparently not.
Good luck with the future. The only way to get there is backward.
ROGER CROMBIE is a Bermuda-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®.
April 1, 2008
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