This is progress?
John L. Lewis
I’m having an Andy Rooney moment. You know, the dyspeptic guy who for 33 years closed out each CBS’ 60 Minutes program – until the clock closed out on his life, a month after he left the show in 2011. With his bushy eyebrows and scowling face, he bore a resemblance to John L. Lewis, the longtime head of the coal miners union, who died decades ago.
Rooney groused about the petty, everyday annoyances that pop up in life. I have a few of my own.
Deja vu all over again
First, allow me to vent over something that’s much more than an annoyance, and far worse than petty. I refer to the fatal shooting of Corey Jones, 31, by a policeman in the early morning hours of Oct. 18 on an Interstate 95 ramp in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. It was another in a long string of shootings of young black men by nonblack officers. It’s not been determined whether the incident was racially motivated, probably just a showing of rank incompetence, but the cop shot at Jones several times as he was fleeing.
What has me in high dudgeon over this is two things: (1) The officer, Nouman Raja, was in an unmarked car; and (2) he was in plain clothes. Jones had pulled onto the ramp because his SUV was quitting on him, and was waiting for roadside assistance he had called. Raja drove up in a van and parked beside the vehicle. He said that he got out and suddenly saw Jones, holding a gun. Raja fired five times, three of the bullets hitting Jones, who never fired his weapon. It turned out Jones, a church-going musician and city inspector, had legally bought a gun for protection.
What the … ?
Now I ask you: What in God’s name would possess a police officer, looking for all the world like an ordinary citizen in a tee-shirt, jeans and a cap with a bill, to approach someone at 3:15 a.m. on a deserted road in a plain van? If you were the citizen, what would you think was happening? I know what I’d think: This guy is up to no good. Could a police officer have done anything more stupid? He didn’t even take his badge out of the van. He didn’t run a check on the SUV’s license plate. He didn’t call for a uniformed officer. How did this man pass the required training? Who sent him out in the dead of night in an unmarked car, wearing street clothes?
For the past several months, I have been repeatedly bending into my computer screen to read what I was typing in the Google search bar. Why? Because the font size is so small that it’s impossible to read for anyone short of 20/20 vision, and I’d wager it’s not easy even for persons with perfect eyesight. The type was large enough before I had a computer repair guy work on it. He fixed it, all right. The same problems remain, and now I’m going nuts trying to see if I made any mistakes typing a Google search. I asked the repairman to change it back, and he said it couldn’t be done. Several other repairmen told me the same thing. The font size can’t be adjusted.
What damned fool designed the computer program with such myopic mental vision that it never occurred to him/her that people couldn’t read it? How in tarnation could a huge technology company put out a product with such an obvious, basic flaw?
Detail be damned
And then there’s the person who designed the oil-change stickers that the worker slaps onto your windshield. In a short time, way before the next oil change is due, the numbers on the sticker have faded into nothingness. In an age of voice recognition technology, wrist watches that include a smart phone, and driverless cars taking to the roads in the near future, can’t somebody develop a sticker that doesn’t fade in a couple or so weeks?
Finally, ponder this: You’ve given the waiter in a restaurant your credit card to pay the bill, and he/she returns with a slip of paper that you have to fill in and sign. How often does the ballpoint pen work on that slick paper? You bear down, then retrace the figures and letters over and over until they’re legible. Didn’t the person or persons who came up with the paper for those payment slips try writing on it before sending it into production for hundreds of thousands of restaurants throughout the country, and maybe the world for all I know?
I submit that we are living in a dual world: one with amazing technological advances occurring side by side with breathtaking obtuseness.