The man on the phone was talking very fast. I thought perhaps he had a lot to say but a short time to say it. I was wrong. It turns out he had lots of time, scads of it, far more time than I would have preferred to allot him. But I am polite on the phone, I listened to the bastard ramble on. What the conversation concerned is unimportant, it was an admonishment at the end that starched my collar. The fellow wanted to foist some documents upon me. I did not want them, but he insisted. “I can fax them to you,” the cad announced. I explained that I did not have a fax machine and that he'd be better off emailing them to me. “Just send them as attachments,” I said. That's when things got interesting. “You should really have a fax machine,” the meddler mumbled. I didn't say anything, still being polite. “If you had a fax machine,” the obtruder continued. “I could just fax these over to you.” “Yes, but I don't,” I said, still holding my tongue. “You might want to think about getting one,” he went on. Still I remained mum. But I was thinking, “And where shall I look for one, an antique store?” I also did not bother to tell the unxious gent that in all my years as a butler, I had not previously had need of one. Not once. Eventually I managed to end the conversation, which was no easy task. Later I thought longer on the unpleasant incident and realized the irony in it. It is I who is usually behind the times technology-wise, not the next fellow. It has only been recently that I have become comfortable using a computer. My first one was given to me by a friend and on it I learned how to use email and browse the internet. Beyond that, I have little use for the contraptions, but I can see their usefulness. At some point I decided to buy a new computer and expected it to act in a manner similar to the one my friend had given me. Again, I had erred. My new computer came equipped with all manner of foibles. I soon learned that it lacked software that I had previously taken for granted. For weeks I learned of all the little tid bits I needed to download and install. It was a very annoying process. For example, soon after my new acquisition arrived I tried to watch a video a friend had guided me to via email. “Really funny,” the subject line read. Being a sap, I clicked on the link. Nothing happened. I clicked again. The doohickey told me I needed something called a “plug in.” The missing element was something called “Java,” but I do not know exactly what that is or what it does. I only know that it was a pain in the caboose to deal with. After an hour or so, I managed to view the video. It was an hour wasted in my opinion. The video was not even mildly amusing. Still I learned something: my friend has an odd sense of humor. That is just one incident among many. Almost daily I found some thingamabob or other that my computer lacked. Always there would be an explanation of what I needed to do to rectify the situation and always it was gibberish. Finally I decided I needed to get a printer. I figured, with a printer, I could print out the instructions for how to accomplish the endless tasks my computer was assigning me in order to get it up to speed. Honestly I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Installing the printer was easy enough, it did all the work. I was not, however prepared for the aftermath. The damn printer has taken over my computer. It lives on my monitor, taking up about a quarter of the space with little icons for functions I have no need of nor inclination to use. Worst, though, is that the printer is constantly trying to sell me products to feed its insatiable thirst. It pesters me to buy ink, it implores me to visit its store (who knew printers had market places?), it nags at me about each and every one of its needs. I believe I shall chuck the bloody thing and get a fax machine.

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