Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I do apologize for my tendency, in these blogs, to start out in one direction and end up in ten others, switching subjects so abruptly and swiftly as to risk mental whiplash. But that’s the way my mind works, and I can do very little about it, try as I might. So here we go again… Be sure your seatbelt is firmly fastened.

As you may have noticed, one of the most frequently recurring themes of these blogs is “things I simply cannot understand.” There really doesn’t seem to be an end to them, to the point where I sometimes wonder exactly how I manage to get through an average day.

This morning’s news had a piece on Scientology and its apparent belief in reincarnation. In this case, it’s not only that I don’t understand it, but that I can see absolutely no point in it. What possible advantage is there in having one’s soul go from one body to the next if there is no memory of who you were originally? I know, there are some fascinating Bridey Murphy stories of people who vividly recall their past lives, and people like Shirley Maclaine who sincerely believe they remember past lives. But have you ever noticed, in those instances, how often the past life was as a general or a famous or rich person, and how seldom they were just ordinary people?

No, if I can’t remember in the next life what I was in this one, I’d just as soon skip it, thanks.

My lack of understanding of those things which seem to be easily understood and practiced by just about everyone with the IQ of a mashed potato inevitably leads to intense and unending frustration. Why can’t I understand?

Owners’ manuals, assembly instructions and all other forms of materials designed to make things easy never, ever are. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten more than three paragraphs into a set of simple “insert Tab A into Slot B” instructions without becoming totally confused, and my frustration turns to fury at myself for my stupidity.

Were I suddenly to be the last man on earth and had to depend totally on myself for survival, I sincerely doubt I’d last the week. I occasionally watch those TV shows featuring individuals dropped in the middle of the desert or a rain forest or somewhere without internet access, and watch in awe as they effortlessly construct a three-bedroom home out of twigs and leaves, or prepare a gourmet meal of tree snakes and dung beetles…often without bothering to kill them first. Again, no thank you.

I recently needed to file a copyright on one of my works, so I went to the U.S. Copyright Office site on the internet and downloaded the forms and instructions. Well, that was an exercise in apoplexy, I can assure you. The “simple” instructions could have been written in Urdu for all the sense I was able to make of them. They are still sitting here, somewhere, on my desk.

Granted, much of my problem lies not with my stupidity, upon which I fall far more often than is really necessary, but on my ability to really concentrate, and to keep the slightest speed-bump in the road from sending me careening off over a cliff. What are speed bumps for everyone else tend to be craters of the moon for me. And as a result, I rely far too often on the kindness of friends with infinitely more expertise and patience than I to do things for me.

On the toolbar at the bottom of my screen there has always been a little “zoom in/zoom out” icon which enables me to enlarge small type. It has vanished. I know it has to be there somewhere, but I have absolutely no idea where it has, or where to look for it or how to get it back, and it has been driving me absolutely insane with frustration. Help? (The defense rests.)

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