Oh, fiddlesticks to technology

Have you ever wanted to “Stop the World – I want to Get Off”?

Whenever I get to this time of the year being faced with the IRS tax forms that I can no longer decipher and then attempting to gather all the information that I think I need to even get the conglomeration of stuff to a tax accountant, I want to stop and yell: STOP THE WORLD!

I get that feeling lots of other times as well. Technological advances bring out the worst in me. I am so behind the times. I have never texted, let alone tweeted. And apps? What are they? Are they related to gnats? Or bees, maybe?

I felt very accomplished a few years ago when I finally got a flip phone – or at least they tell me that is what I have. Of course I seldom turn it on so don’t try to call me at that number – whatever it is – I have at least been able to fiddle around with the phone and found it remembers its own number so I can look it up.

So far, 99 percent of the time I use the phone it is to call out which I barely manage or more likely it is to see the time because I do not wear a watch. The other 1 percent of the time is when someone happens to call me when I have it on and I am trying to find the little green button to push so that the person on the other end can hear me. Usually it takes me too long and the other person has hung up anyway.

One of the really neat things that I do like is that the time on my phone changes automatically when I go into a new time zone. Not only that, but it also automatically corrects when we go back and forth on “savings time.” I stopped my writing just now to look up on the computer to see when that change occurs this spring and I was told: 21 days, 7 hours, 30 minutes, and 46 seconds. Of course when you read this it will be closer to just 17 days. STOP THE WORLD! Too much information!

jtr

My three-year-old car has lots of electronic stuff I have yet to understand and lots that I seldom, if ever, use. When driving cross country, say on the way to Colorado, I have busied myself trying to catch my car time automatically change as I got halfway across South Dakota going into Mountain Time. That is difficult to do and probably is not safe – almost like talking on a cell phone.

I learn how unsafe it is to look at that dashboard “screen” every now and then because the car manufacturers have a little item flash on the screen as follows:

“WARNING

Taking your eyes off the road too long or too often while using this system could cause a crash, resulting in injury or death to you or others.

Focus your attention on driving.”

I have had this notice pop up to my attention when I am already moving with the car down the highway. Do they expect me to ignore reading it?

They also must think I am a slow learner as it continues to pop up now and then. They are nice enough to consider that I may not understand the language in which it is written because there is a little item I can press to change it from English US to Francais Canadien or to Espanol Latino. I am not sure what those people who use English Canada are supposed to do.

This bit of information from the car manufacturer does not get a Stop the World, but I think it deserves an Oh, Fiddlesticks!

Considering that little screen on the car reminds me that it has other capabilities. I do indeed like the backing-up cameras to show on the screen what is behind me when backing up.

It also provides GPS. The first month I had the car I carefully read the manual and used the GPS to get from our Marshall home to visit some friends at their home in Minneota. Indeed it did guide me the way I would have gone without its help even to the point of going down that little street that doesn’t look like a street that heads north easterly shortly after getting to Minneota. I haven’t found it necessary to use the GPS since.

I am stuck being a map person – though admittedly I called up Google Maps on my computer ahead of time.

jtr

The Stop the World, also seems appropriate if I want something good to continue or to relive an experience in my mind. If you haven’t remembered where the phrase comes from, it is the title of a broadway musical that I certainly would love to experience again.

The Southwest Minnesota State University Theater Department staged the musical “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off” some 20 or 25 years ago. Anthony Newley starred in the Original London Production and the Original Broadway Production as the main character, Littlechap. Sammy Davis Jr. starred as Littlechap in the 1978 Revival. The story of the musical is essentially the life of Littlechap from birth to death. When something happens in his life that is disagreeable, he says, “Stop the World!” and he explains to the audience what he doesn’t like about his life.

He marries Evie and has two daughters. In one of his “Stop the World!” scenes he explains he really wants a son. He constantly searches for things he thinks would better his life. As the end of the production approaches, one of his daughters gives birth to a son, but the son is not well and is expected to die. Littlechap then realizes what he was searching for he already had with his wife Evie and he eventually makes a plea that his life be taken to save his grandson’s life. The closing song is probably the most memorable: “What Kind of Fool Am I?”

Until next time: Oh, Fiddlesticks!

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