The theater of the absurd

It all started with the purchase and the setup of a new TV set.

A few years ago, the process was very simple: you bought the set, you unpacked it, you connected the device to an Internet Service Provider, then plugged the thing into an electric outlet, and you were in business.

Not anymore. This procedure was probably too simple, or maybe not sophisticated enough for some computer geeks. Today, with a “smart TV” you don’t need a cable connection anymore. You access the internet through your home network… and you get going.

The manual setup is very simple, but the rest proved to be nothing but a steeplechase. When you turn your set on, you are required to go through some routine. Mainly to answer some questions before you are allowed to enjoy your purchase… and with a virtual keyboard, it is a rather tedious operation.

Since I bought a Samsung device, I also wanted to register it with the company. I created an account a long time ago, and since I have owned 3 different Samsung TVs in the past, registering the new device should have been a walk in the park. But this stroll very quickly became an obstacle course.

I started by trying to login into the Samsung website. I entered my e-mail address as required, and then my password, but I was immediately summoned to replace that password. All right, as you please… Then, when I tried to change the password, I was stopped cold in my tracks. The system snubbed me and refused to oblige. Something was rotten in the state of Denmark!

After many unsuccessful attempts, I called Samsung Support. Before I was allowed to talk to anybody, I was quizzed by a variety of bots that finally gave me the green light.

I was put in touch with a real human, but to my dismay, he spoke with a strange foreign accent. I am somewhat hearing impaired, and his pronunciation proved to be a real impediment to our conversation.

I laboriously explained my problem to him and after many unintelligible exchanges, he asked me for my name and my birthdate. I provided the data to him, but then he told me that what I had given him didn’t match what was on record. Specifically, my birthdate. I gave him my birthdate again. It is not correct, he told me again.

-OK, then please enter what I am telling you instead, I said.
-I cannot do this he said.
-But I am the owner of the account, and it is what I am telling you that is correct, not what is in your computer.
-No, I can’t do that, he said again, but instead, try to guess the birthdate that you entered initially he said.

What a totally absurd, Kafkaesque situation, this had become. The man refused to change the information that I (the creator of the account) was giving him. Who would know best where and when I was born? Him or I?

We had reached an impasse. I finally told him that I wanted to talk to somebody else. To my great relief, he agreed to my request, and I was soon talking to another person.

I went through the same previous routine and the man told me again that he could not do that. Security, you know. But he promised to put me in touch with a person who could.

I finally got to talk to a sane (probably vaccinated) person. She asked a few questions to verify my identity and then she solicited me to verify my birthdate. I told her. She laughed. I asked her why and she told me that her computer showed January 1st, 1981, as my birthday. I just wished…

We finally resolved the “problem” to our mutual satisfaction. She thanked me for my cooperation, my patience, and my fidelity to her company.

I told her that I loved her and wanted to have children with her.

Alain

Practice makes perfect

When you are a homeowner, it pays to be a handyman. Besides saving a little money, it is satisfying to be able to fix some little things around the house without having to rely on a professional. All you need is time… plenty of time.

Replacing a faucet for instance is a no-brainer. All you need to do is turn off the water, disconnect the cold and warm ducts, remove the faucet, and install a new one in the reverse order. A piece of cake, right? Well not exactly… especially if you lack practice.

In theory, most of the little things that need fixing, look relatively easy to accomplish. But if you don’t have the experience, a simple little job can turn into a hellish affair.

 Recently we purchased a relatively large TV set and we thought that it would look good hanging above our fireplace. All we needed to do was to assemble a metal bracket, set it on the wall and hang the television on it. It looked pretty easy…

But these large flat screens are relatively heavy and need to be anchored securely on the wall before you can sit back and enjoy a flick.

All I needed to do was to find the studs located behind the sheetrock and securely screw the frame onto them. But the studs loitering at the back of the wall happened to be difficult to pinpoint and my new Zircon L50 StudSensor was of no great help. It kept giving me erratic indications and the edges of the studs kept moving to new places at each new attempt.

I am pretty sure that a professional would have located the studs within minutes, but as a person who does it once in a blue moon, I failed miserably. After puncturing the wall with probably a dozen holes, I was finally able to hang the frame. Alleluia, praise YouTube!

Moral of the story:

Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.  Anton Chekhov

 If you want to be proficient at whatever you do (pétanque included), practice, practice, and practice again. Everything becomes easy after you have performed the same task a hundred times.

But the problem is, how many TV sets am I going to hang a wall in the coming years? Should I continue to practice, just in case?

Alain

A l’aide! je veux de la galette!

This year again, on January 6, I couldn’t share the traditional Galette des Rois with my friends and this really irked me. All of this is because of the enduring pandemic and the lasting irresponsibility of some ignorant yoyos. They are as afraid of a little jab in the arm as the people in the Middle Ages were afraid of “sneezing out their souls.”

In the time of the plague, sneezing could mean that a person was infected and would be next to die. But it was also believed that when you sneezed, it gave the Devil the opportunity to enter your body and steal your soul. Saying “God bless you” was supposed to protect you and prevent Satan from invading your organism.

All this non-sense was of course debunked a long time ago, just as the claptrap about vaccines was. But some people obviously still fear that the Devil will slither into their bodies through the jab of a tiny needle.

l my friends does not need a needle to enter your body and pollute your soul. He uses obedient evil-inclined individuals to do his dirty work.

On January 6, 2021, he used a flawed President and his goons to launch an attack on American democracy. The plot failed, but it does not mean that it cannot happen again. On 8-9 November 1923, Hitler and his Nazi supporters tried to seize power in Germany. They failed, but 10 years later they succeeded and launched a series of wars that killed over 70 million people around the world.

Satan is watching and laughing at the stupidity of some earthlings. They are his unwitting tools, and he knows it. Given a chance they will swallow any fabrication uttered by some power-hungry individuals.

I bet that most people would not mind a national mandatory order to get vaccinated or get fined a substantial amount of money. Some people are pretty obtuse, but they still understand and respect moolah.

You see what cheating me out of my little celebration can make me do or say? Depriving me of my Galette des Rois is like taking a meaty bone back from a bulldog. He won’t let you do it without a fight. So, blast the nincompoops who refuse to get vaccinated and prolong our misery indefinitely.

But at the same time, I also want to thank the scores of people who remembered my birthday and send me greetings and flowers. They are my kind of people, and I secured a place in Paradise for them all. When you will arrive up there, just mention my name and they will let you in.

Glad to see you Saint Pete will say. Alain called me on my private line and told me to expect you. Enjoy your stay, and by the way… you don’t have to wear masks here. Everybody and everything is kosher. And you can have as much Champagne and Galette des Rois as you want.

Bienvenue au paradis mes amis !

Alain