Self Improvement Fiction posted January 23, 2012

This work has reached the exceptional level
An almost true story

High-Tick For Dummies

by humpwhistle

 You may call it technology, but it’s just ticknology to me---because it plum ticks me off!  Using the same logic, I suppose I could call it pissology, too.
Maybe I’m missing some crucial space-age gene.  Maybe I’ve been in a coma for twenty, thirty, a hundred years.  Or maybe I’ve just been designated God’s laughingstock.   The bottom line is, I’m the last remaining occupant left on a short yellow bus that’s hopelessly broken down on the shoulder of the Information Superhighway. 

Pity me, my friends, for I am the anti-geek.  I am the nerd that nerds point at and shout, Nerd!  My pocket watch is analog---pocket watch, for criminy sakes!  My telephone has a pigtail…and a rotary dial.  Ask me to share a link, and I think I’ve been invited to breakfast with Jimmy Dean.  I spell social media S-T-D.  Had Charles Darwin met me, he would have labeled me unfittest and recommended Last Rites.

A few years ago at Christmas, my sister gifted me with a curious object she identified as a laptop.  I dutifully held it on my lap and thanked her profusely.  For two days I watched half a dozen football games on TV and ate all my meals from my glorious new laptop.  On the third day, I discovered the damn thing could be opened, and lo and be told, my dinner tray was a genuine computer!  Oh, happy day!  Unfortunately, though, my old TV tray had already made a crushing acquaintance with a Riley's Rubbish Removal remover.   
At the time, all I really knew about computers was that gobs of good stuff was supposed to magically fall right out of them just for the asking.  And now that I had mine open, visions of belated sugarplums danced through my head.   I turned my new-fangled treasure upside down and shook it 'til it swooned. 
Where was the magic?  Not so much as one skinny rabbit fell out. 
I was not daunted.  I shook it again. 
Still nothing.  
Okay, now I was daunted.  I slammed it shut.  I put it on my lap and ate my lunch.  Hey, who said I can’t use a computer?
The next morning I woke up with a creative brainstorm.  I opened the contraption up and…
Well, in case you haven’t already tried it, let me warn you that laptops make lousy waffle irons.
After running my high-tick marvel through the dishwasher, I decided to have another go at her.
I realized that the button thingees reminded me of another high-tick doohickey I never quite mastered:  the typewriter.  Using my unique technique of hunt & poke, I managed to type, Y-O-O-H-O-O, A-N-Y-B-O-D-Y H-O-M-E?   I figured that would be an acceptable greeting to any High-Tick Genie.
Evidently not.
I had another brainstorm.  I typed, A-B-R-A-C-A-D-A-B-R-A. 
Zilch on a shingle.
Squat on a Saltine.
On a lark, I typed in my favorite author’s name, H-U-M-P-W-H-I-S-T-L-E.   Damned if the blasted thing didn’t give me a shock that like to turn my nose hairs into porcupine quills, and caused my (mostly) decorative testicles to seek refuge where my appendix used to loiter.   
Yes, sir, I don’t mind telling you that I was becoming high-ticked off!  I thought about closing the clamshell and putting it on my lap, but it wasn’t even close to dinner time yet.   As a last resort, I picked the thing up, turned it on its side, and played it like an accordion (Lady of Spain, with full Asiago flourishes).   Wouldn’t you know it, the accordion buzzed to life and bellowed a loud, “Welcome!” 
Well, I’ll be damned and fried in a skillet, because I went and dropped the infernal contraption right then and there.  In my defense, none of my other accordions ever talked to me like that.  Squawked, sure, but never talked. 

I picked it up, and sure enough, the TV part was all lit up with these cute, colorful little doodads.  I stared at them for a long time.  That was really fun and educational.  Then it was time for dinner. 
The next day, I played Lady of Spain again, but I guess the lady must have been out of town.  I had grilled cheese for lunch, and Spam Casserole for supper.  I heard somewhere that Spam and laptops aren’t always a good combination---but my dinner offered every bit of the Spam succulence I have always come to expect.


My sister---she’s such a joker---sent me a book called Computers For Dummies.  Heck, what would Mortimer Snerd need with a computer?  But I leafed through it anyway. 

I’m pretty sure it was written in Swedish, or one of those other –ish languages, because I couldn’t make heads or tailwind out of any of it.  Who would have guessed that Mortimer Snerd spoke Swedish?  Will wonders never crease?

I can hardly believe it!  Here I am hunting & poking away on my very own computer.  I’m not sure exactly how I came to it, but I figured if Mortimer Snerd can read Swedish, I could learn too.  Hell, I’m every bit as smart as he is! 

And look at this---I can speak Italian, too:  I can’t tell you how proud of myself I am right now.  (That’s Italiano for ‘I can’t tell you how proud of myself I am right now.’) 

I just write it in American, hit a button, and voila, I’m speaking Italian slicker than a gigolo at a pizza party.  Isn’t that a kick in the caboose?
I plan on learning Boldish next.  I can already say kielbasa.
I have so many more discoveries to tell you about, but they’ll have to wait ‘til tomorrow.  It’s time for dinner, so I have to close up. 
Spam Surprise tonight.  I just can’t seem to get enough of the stuff.

Story of the Month contest entry


I can't post this as non-fiction---I made up the part about having a sister.
Mortimer Snerd was one of the great Edgar Bergen's ventriloquist's dummies.

There are a few intestional errors in the piece.
If you find a flub that you think might be unintestinal, please point it out.
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