At the risk of having my Official Man Club membership revoked, I must admit that I’m not very good at mechanical things, or modern technology.
I was reminded of that recently while visiting Northland Pioneer College in Holbrook, Ariz.
I was trying to sign on to the guest wifi but kept getting a message saying “authentication failure.” I flagged down a tech support person and told her I was having trouble signing onto the internet.
There was sympathy in her eyes as she patiently explained how to register for a free guest password. I told her I did that, but was getting the same message.
Aha, she realized that I was getting close to my Old Geezer years! She spoke slowly – because Old Geezers can’t hear in real time – and explained that after I register for a guest password they send it to your email address.
“Just check your email,” she said.
“Um, how can I do that if I can’t get online?” I asked. It seemed like a perfectly logical question.
A shocked look crossed her face, and she stood there, no doubt thinking, “Is this guy a moron?”
“That’s Mr. Moron to you,” I thought back at her.
The lady acted like she was talking to a three-headed dinosaur, with one of its heads stuck firmly up its rectum.
“Most people have their email linked to their phone,” she said.
Well, I didn’t, so I ended up having to pay $2 for a wifi day pass.
I remember going to a fast-food restaurant that had a sign promising “Free WIFI.” I wasn’t really looking for another wifey; after all, my wonderful Sara is everything I could hope for. But, heck, if they are free it couldn’t hurt to take a look at a free wifey. Maybe there would be a cute redhead (are there any other kind?).
It’s not just modern technology, either.
Back in college a girl with a flat tire asked me if I could change it for her. It was my chance to be a knight in shining armor!
“Aye, fair maiden!” I thought to myself. “I. Sir Johns-a-lot, shall gladly repair your conveyance!”
Only I forgot to block the wheel and the car rolled off the jack!
“Sorry, lady, I ain’t no Mr. Goodwrench,”
I muttered, as I slipped away in shame.
It seems I have always had bad luck with cars.
When I moved to Florida I had a black Volkwagen Rabbit. It was great in New England because it really kept me warm during the winter.
It was less great in Florida because the heat wouldn’t shut off.
Oh, and the windows wouldn’t roll down.
Instead of a car it turned out to be a torture chamber on wheels!
I tell you, I just don’t get mechanical stuff.
I was proud of myself when I got my first apartment – and bought a microwave oven. I dreamed of all the good stuff I could make myself to supplement my Twinkie diet!
I decided to cook a can of spaghetti.
After watching it for a while, I called my sister, Hilary.
“Hey, Hil, are sparks supposed to shoot out of the microwave when you use it?”
“NO!” She asked if I had put the can in the microwave.
Of course I did. Reading directions is for lesser men.
I know what you’re thinking – and it’s Mr. Moron to you!
John Christian Hopkins lives in Sanders, Ariz., with his wife, Sararesa. He is a veteran journalist – but never an enemy of the people – and a former nationally syndicated columnist for Gannett News Service. He is a member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island.