Saturday, February 13, 2016

3. COMMAND MINUS

Once when I was in the recording studio I brought Mark, my engineer, a plastic button I had bought at a Staples Office Supply store.  I purchased it as a joke, for him to use after I spent two hours trying to record one phrase of a song.  Press the button, and a man’s voice says “THAT WAS EASY!”  Irony intended.

I should have bought one for my home.

I’m not the cursing type, though there have been times when a nice string of semi-benign farmhand curses run through my head, and occasionally when I am feeling extra human they will slip through my lips.  I have to be pretty agitated for that to happen.  Or maybe just sick. Or tired. Or sick and tired.

I suppose it was sick and tired that facilitated my last slip.  It was last week.

I had received by email a coupon for 50% off a blog to print book it had an expiration date.  When there’s a bargain in sight, especially for something for which I would pay full price, all else in my life falls behind. I know…it’s a disease. Since my Lent writing for last year included family recipes and stories attached to them, I thought I’d like to print that book for my kids and me.  I spent hours aligning, correcting, even adding new recipe card photos to the blog so I could use the coupon and get it printed.  You know, printing these things can be pricey, mostly because I am wordy.  Really, one of these years I am going to do one of those “say something in 6 word” exercises for my Lent Writing.

So, anyway, I had spent hours and hours adjusting things, and just before midnight on the day of the deadline (yup, that’s a disease, too) I went to upload the blog.  I filled out all the info and a little window popped up on my computer with some security sign-in stuff. The only problem in all of it was that there was no place to select “submit” or “next” in that little window.  I tried the return button.  No luck.  I tried scrolling. Same thing.  I signed out and signed in again. Nada. As the clock ticked away, my fingers smacked the buttons on my poor keyboard harder and harder. Like if it were a telephone I would be yelling into it.  I tried live chat. No response.  Called the phone number. Business closed for the weekend. Eventually I emailed them and using what I considered to be very Christian restraint, I asked why I could not upload my blog.

On Monday I got an email back, telling me they would extend the sale for me, and that they and uploaded it for me. Super nice, huh?  So I excitedly got on to look at it and once again, I couldn’t log into the stupid site. (Everything becomes stupid in these situations.) So I “live chat” with someone named Marcos at the company, and He/She tells me they have no idea why I can’t access the site but they already did the upload so….

That’s when the farm hand cursing made itself manifest.

Finally I asked my daughter Kate, who was working at the kitchen table, if she had any ideas for getting myself onto this stupid *&%#@ website. She asked a few details, then said, without even having to leave her seat: “Have you tried clicking “Command Minus”.  You know, the Command key at the same time as the minus key on the computer? So I clicked Command Minus and sure enough, the window magically opened and there was that sweet little SUBMIT button.


The juxtaposition of joy and relief against curse invoking frustration approaches what I might consider “divine”. I was stunned. Floored, actually, that it was that simple. It only took about 30 seconds for me to remark that the company was stupid for making it impossible to sign on without knowing something like that.

This all reminded me of the day we were up at Libby’s house and our niece Emily and her family were visiting.  Ten-year-old Ian was playing some sort of game with his sister on an iPhone.  I asked him to show me the app and he came over and sat on the arm of the chair beside me.  He took my phone and said, “We should close some of these programs first, you sure have a lot of them up right now. “ So he double clicked on the Queen of Buttons (I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s that big one on the bottom of the phone that sort of controls everything) then he took his ten-year-old thumb and repeatedly slid it up the screen, one by one putting the open apps to bed.  They had been awake on my phone for something like…oh, six months!

 Yes, I got this groovy phone, figured out how to do the basics of the basics, and have been using it all along without knowing what even a ten-year-old considers “basic”. Sheesh.  &%$#@!

It was really rather life changing to know this one simple thing about my iPhone.  Saved a LOT of power, to begin with. Now every time I close out of programs I think of Ian.

I am reminded, repeatedly in this era of ultra-modern technology (remember we had black and white TV with no remote control when I was a kid) that there are simple fixes to many or our issues.  Things that cause us to say, “Wow, that was EASY!

I got to thinking about it, and said to Kate, “I’ll bet when we die and get some of those answers we were looking for, maybe a thousand years from now, the answers will seem so logical, and so simple, we will lift our chins, exhale a puff of ignorance, and remark…Well, duh…THAT WAS EASY!”

I imagine heavenly beings up there in their celestial space shaking their heads at us as we curse and pound and lose sleep over matters we simply cannot understand.  If they were not divine, they would probably say something like “Stupid human, you think you know it all! “ And they would try to tell us that it’s really quite simple, we just need to click Command Minus.  But instead we curse God and tell him he’s stupid, and because we are so danged loud in our irritation we never do hear the quiet prompt of the angels.

So here’s my HOPE for today: I expect that there are solutions to very, very difficult issues that trouble my heart, not just my head; deeply spiritual matters that threaten my foundation and shake my testimony.  I would love to have them now. It may be that they are being offered now, only my obnoxiously loud cursing is overpowering them. When I feel this confusion and frustration, I hope I remind myself to think of Kate over there at her spot at the kitchen table, quietly asking me if I had tried Command Minus.  I anticipate that these simple solutions will make themselves manifest at some point…even if it is a thousand years from now.

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During the season of Lent I make the personal commitment to write every day.  I’ve done this for the past eight years, as a token of devotion and thanks to the Lord for giving me a brain that works (usually). I publish these writings here on my blog, unedited and splattered like wet paint, as a way to share them and to keep them for myself and for my posterity.  This year I have decided to ruminate on thoughts, ideas, habits and miscellaneous personal practices I would like to put in a figurative HOPE CHEST to take with me into the rest of my life and the life beyond. Besides that, there are bits of advice I would like to tuck into the HOPE CHESTS of my kids and grandkids.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness I so feel your pain...but I am grateful for those souls like Kate who came to our family to quietly life us from our frustration. We learn so much from those we supposedly taught...still learning..still loving....So glad it's Lent writing time...Now i can go to sleep!!

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