Saturday, 4 September 2010

The Magnificent Seven

I had another of my blinding insights this morning. I used to get them nearly every weekend, but they don't seem to come so often since I came off the red wine.

It's all to do with this blooming Windows 7 computer.

You see, when I was a lad we used to have a thing called a wireless, something of a misnomer since it didn't work without a wire which went from the back into an electric socket. You quickly learnt though that the 'wireless' bit referred to the magic radio-waves that came through the ether into your wireless set. It was best not to think too deeply about the ether, but our science teacher said it had no real substance to it and was everywhere (rather like Nick Clegg nowadays, the Leader of the Liberal Party). Later on we learnt much more about these things and we realized that there is no such thing as the ether (ditto the Liberal Party?). How the heck the radio waves get here is still a complete mystery to me but I have slowly learnt to live with it.

Anyway a bright young chap like me quickly fathomed that a wireless has 3 knobs on the front. There was the ON/OFF knob, the TUNING knob and the VOLUME knob, all of which worked every time, resulting in predictable satisfaction and happiness as we sat in a family group listening to 'Dick Barton Special Agent' or 'The Goons'.

As I became adolescent and entered adult life, things gradually became much more complicated. The wireless became a radio and radios started having timers and alarms, and bass and treble controls, stereo, woofers, tweeters, and a place to stick your tapes in a slot, but I persevered. Eventually I more or less understood what most of the controls did and I usually got some sort of gratification if I persevered long enough.

Then late in my life came computers, and I more or less gave up. They sometimes do what you want, but more often they don't, and they tend to cause tremendous frustration and annoyance.

'So where's the blinding insight in that?' you may reasonably ask.

Well I realize now that my gradual understanding and mastery of the new-fangled wireless of my youth, followed by my long and increasing bewilderment about the ever-more complicated electronic gizmos and computers, exactly reflects my experience of the female sex.

It happens to any adolescent lad when he discovers girls. He thinks he understands them but they tend to get more and more complicated as time goes by. When you first get a girl-friend, one your friends who has already got one will explain that there are fairly obvious knobs on the front, which you must twiddle to try to get whatever gratification you're looking for. I don't think I need to pursue this analogy much further but we all know that slots to take your CDs come at a later stage.

But you'd think after a lifetime of experience, you'd have got the hang of things, wouldn't you? But the internal workings will remain forever a mystery. Windows 7 is really, really complicated and there's no instruction book. It seems to have its own agenda, it rarely does exactly what you want, it often causes frustration, even annoyance, but there's no chance you'll ever understand it because it has an unfathomable mind of its own and by God its clever. Need I say more?

I'd better go now and do some grouting before I get into trouble.


  1. You're a brave man John. I still haven't worked out Windows 3, and I'm still running an even earlier version of Relationship 1.0. The technical support for both of them has run out, and the updates have stopped working.

  2. Oh dear, oh dear! Have your studied the workshop manual? No good asking me. I haven't a clue.

  3. John - at least you can't get Windows 7 pregnant.

    Someone sent me an utterly BRILLIANT e-mail that talked about relationship 1.0 and how girlfriend 6.0 wanted to become wife 1.0 - have you seen it?

    Think this might be it, or a version of it:

    Ali x