How do you start your day? Many of my friends along the affluent Maine coast turn on “Morning Joe” while nursing a cup of jet black coffee. They are lucky; before I can eat my pills or start my rolled oats, I have to spend an hour unloading my thoughts on Facebook.

Here is a typical post from yesterday: “Never try to wash the fly specks off a white car if you have a vitreous floater.”

Why do I inflict upon my friends a harmless frenetic babble on Facebook every morning? It keeps me from doing anything productive that might entail a bit of thought or physical effort. When I do work hard, I accomplish less than I did the day before. So the less I do, the more I get done.

You would expect this to be true with computer projects. Working with a computer is like caring for a 2-year-old with cramps. You no sooner have one problem under control when Google or Facebook are “improved.” It’s impossible to stay on top of the changes when you lack the support group of a third-grader.

When Facebook introduced its new, improved Facebook, it also removed my ability to make face-to-face videophone calls with my laptop computer. This really didn’t surprise me because I had just mastered the Facebook videophone call a few days earlier and had used it three times. For a week I was right up there with Dick Tracy and his two-way wrist radio and the grandchildren, who had television phones when they were 5. But now, when I call, my friends can’t see me.

If you have traveled this road, you know that if I’m lucky it will only take a couple of weeks to get my computer camera working again – although it does not follow that I’ll know how to use it.

You know what happens when you Google for instructions: “To open up your webcam or camera, select the Start button, and then select Camera in the list of apps.”

You can easily believe that the start button in the lower left-hand corner of my screen is gone – which means that I can no longer see the page that shows the different parts of the system in icons.

I have long maintained that improvements to Google and Facebook are made by a 12-year-old computer guru who never leaves his parents’ cellar.

Who else could be responsible for these things? Would a rational adult be able to continually create programs that are exponentially difficult to use? Just learning computer jargon is a full-time job.

Within two days the new improvements kept me from being able to convince my “hey Google” machine that it is in Maine, and shut down my ability to chat face to face with friends.

How many times have you followed the online instructions to correct some problem and been stopped dead in your tracks? You call a computer-savvy friend who knows about these things and he works you through it over the phone. When it still doesn’t work, he says he’ll come over and look at it. You eagerly watch over his shoulder as he sits at your computer and presses the fingers of expertise into receptive keys. After a few minutes, you see him shaking his head. Finally you hear him mumble under his breath, “This is strange. It doesn’t seem to be working.”

There comes a day when your friends no longer pick up the phone when you call because they know you are looking for help. You might get some comfort in reading the cheerful memes your best friend posted in your office: My favorite one says, “Will any of this matter in eternity?”

Because I can’t leave you on a note of absolute despair, please know that I spent many happy fall afternoons sanding and painting the outside of our house. One evening when it was real cool I brought the paint cans in and put them here on the floor of our downstairs bedroom so the paint would be warm and spread easier in the morning.

You probably know that when paint cans warm up, the covers make a musical “pop.” But did you ever stop to think that if you put an infinite number of paint cans in an infinite number of bedrooms and turn the heat up and down an infinite number of times, the sounds of the covers popping will eventually play Bach’s Fugue in G minor?

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at:
www.thehumblefarmer.com/MainePrivateRadio.html


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