The Funny Side
By Nury Vittachi
I just love the new automatic doors and sensor–controlled lights and air–con in my office. The whole building seems utterly terrified of me. I spend the whole day going in and out just to watch the doors race to get out of my way. Ah, the male ego is a wonderful thing.
But technology really annoys me when, for example, the computer asks: “Do you want to save changes to this document” and only gives “Save” or “Don’t save” options. Why is there not a button saying: “I changed this document? I didn’t mean to. My boss wrote this. Am I going to get sacked?”
Actually, I’ve hated handling formal documents since my first day of work as a reporter, when I was summoned to a meeting of jourlists who grilled me as to whether I knew how to fill in expenses claim forms. “I write down what I spent” I suggested.
“Nooo,” they groaned at my iveté. The union had calculated the maximum plausible amount a reporter might spend, and we all had to file identical claims every week for this exact amount.
“What about him,” I asked, pointing to a reporter who refused to join the meeting. They told me that Paul was a “religious nut” whose bizarre adherence to the truth caused him to file ridiculously tiny claims. Later, I peeked at Paul’s weekly expenses claim form, which was for a few coins, and on which he’d written: “To facilitate an interview with a source, I used two office tea bags, but deducted the cost of one as I drank that cup myself.” I secretly found him cool.
I’ve struggled my whole working life to decide what to list as work–related expenses. An American reader told me about a nightclub performer who listed her breast implant surgery. It was rejected on the ground that her bust was already size 56FF, big enough for anyone. But an appeal court judge, presented with the monstrous average upper body dimensions of the competition in her business, decided that her new extra–extra–large sized (56N) breasts were genuinely “a required condition of employment”, and granted the plea. To help you visualize size 56N, go to Google images and look up “car airbags”.
Her story kind of annoyed me. I know loads of people who desperately need medical stuff, like the implantation of brains into their cerebral cavities, to eble them to do complex activities such as walk and chew gum at the same time, but they don’t get tax breaks from helpful judges.
Consider a youthful acquaintance of mine. She recently gave me a long lecture on how awful it was that modern technology was stealing our privacy, while simultaneously uploading a photograph of her breakfast on to the internet. She couldn’t see the contradiction in this.
My persol view is that technology is absolutely fine as long as you take great care to let it know who’s boss. Now if you’ll excuse me, the automatic doors are looking a bit complacent and I need a bit of an ego–boost.
Get out of my way, you puny, terrified inimate objects. Your master approaches and I have unlimited power, mwa ha ha ha ha. The male ego, as I say, is a wonderful thing. (IANS)