I’m on the wrong planet

When I give my opinion on issues such as politics, religion or what makes me happy, I am often told that I’m on the wrong planet. 

Some would take this remark as an insult; as for myself this doesn’t vex me one bit because the faultfinders are in most cases correct. On my planet we have all the electronic gadgets as available on Earth: laptops, iPhones, smart phones, portable hand-held vacuum cleaners and the rest. One difference however is that on my planet we are sound and consistent-thinking creatures and we keep things simple.  

On my planet we have the standard two forms of providing power – AC or DC. However, any portable appliance that receives power has one simple adapter that fits all. Here on planet Earth I have three boxes jammed with every adapter, transformer or power supplier ever made. Each box is a tangled mishmash of wires and plugs indistinguishable from the snarled fish net in my boat.  

Some of the adapters are for thingamajigs that haven’t been manufactured for years. But I’m afraid to throw them away, because the moment I do – I’ll need one of them. I have a collection of adapters with 120 volt inputs and 45 mA along with 3.7 outputs, some have 50/60 Hz, others with VDCs, 115 VAC and 15 Kw.  

What on Planet Earth does all that mean? Scanning the Internet for information on these contraptions is enough to give even Einstein a brain swell. Then there’s the Universal Power supply kit that ought to work on any thingamabob, however this only works if you have the right connector on your gadget, with the proper port and socket. 

“Why,” I ask, “Why keep it so complicated?”  

Some marketing people explain that by changing adapters and models every few years it keeps the huge electronic companies in business. OK, change the style and colour of my hand drill, but why the change the power supply. On my planet all gadgets use the same power supply – it’s the law! 

 

Blue what? 

Some time back I stopped at a Best Buy store in Miami where I purchased a few DVD reruns of the series Dexter. I love that show, a blood expert serial killer that works in a police station and eliminates all the bad guys, what a dream job ! I know what you’re thinking right now… that I am on the wrong planet. I noted on the box it said Blu-ray Disc. I caught the attention of a young clerk who looked very bored stocking the DVD racks.  

“Excuse me young man, what’s this Blu-ray thingy?” 

“That’s the latest thing out sir, where have you been, on another planet?” 

(Little did he know) 

He went on to explain, “This Blu-ray DVD is so crystal clear it will make your eyes pop out. It has a blue violet laser which allows the picture to come through in greater precision. You’ll think you’re right there in the movie along with the actors.” 

“Wow, to hang out with Dexter as he stabs some paedophile through the heart, I’ll take it,” I said. “In fact, I’ll take the entire six seasons.” 

Back in Cayman I am preparing for my Dexter marathon, taco chips, beer and an easy chair. I Windex my spectacles and ease back. 

“click” goes the play button on the remote and – nothing! I click again… nothing!! I get out of my easy chair and attempt to start my program manually… nothing. I check all the plugs, wires and put new batteries in my remote… and nothing! I was peeved. I call my gadget and computer-savvy son for help.  

Bottom line – my DVD player is outdated. 

You need a Blu-ray player to play a Blu-ray DVD.  

I was peeved. 

I called Best Buy in Miami but no one spoke English, so phoned the Best Buy corporate office in Minnesota – it’s like dealing with the CIA to get past the operators, secretaries and whoever. Finally, doggedness won and I did get on line with a friendly, caring, customer service person.  

“The Miami store did not inform me that I need a Blu-Ray player to play a Blu-Ray DVD” I protested.  

“I’ll take care of it” promised Mr. Jones. 

Three weeks later I had my Dexter DVDs that worked perfectly in my outdated DVD player, plus a free Vonage phone for all my troubles. I called Mr. Jones back and thanked him for his help and the free phone.  

“What’s a Vonage phone” I ask. 

“A Vonage phone, he responds, you can make overseas calls using high-speed broadband Internet, and call anywhere for about $10 per month.”  

“Is that the latest electronic gadget on the market” I query.  

“Sir, it’s been around for years. What planet have you been on? 

“It’s so easy to use, just plug in the new adapter and remove the Ethernet cable from the modem, then insert it into the Ethernet port on the phone device. You can also use a separate Ethernet cable which may be necessary if you do not use a wireless router, or if you care you can buy a….  

CLICK. 

I hung up the phone.  

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