I thought it was high time someone wrote a post making fun of Lars. It's been a while. And if I don't do it, who will?
I always get the dirty jobs around here. ;)
So this one is about Lars and technology. Now let me start by saying that Lars does a HIGHLY technical job. English major notwithstanding. He is a principal software quality assurance engineer at a very cool high tech company doing very cool and complex stuff, and by god the junk he brings home to read is LESS READABLE THAN THE DEADEST OF DEAD LANGUAGES. And the deadliest, too.
He can trouble shoot almost any computer issue we have at home, even the ones that have Saskia in tears at one a.m. the night before her assignment is due. He can converse with programmers in their language. He knows what certain dorky acronyms mean. Like RTFM (delicacy prevents me from translating that into English). He's DOWN with that tech stuff.
Unless it has anything to with television remotes, microwaves, oven technology, or DVD players.
For example, when he wants to turn on the TV, he does not know which remote to use to do it. Granted, we have three of them, so this is not quite a simple operation, but still, they are each visually distinct. For example, the DVD remote, which we almost NEVER USE, is dove gray. The TV remote, with which one turns on the TV (I know, radical idea) and also accesses Netflix on the TV (OK, a bit more complicated) is all black. And the cable remote, with which one changes channels and accesses on-demand features, is black with multi-colored buttons.
But you all don't need the explanation, right?
I have painstakingly explained these processes to Lars a hundred times. Just like I have presented the use of the digital controls on our stove, again and again. ("No, the way you set the timer is by pressing the "TIMER" button. Crazy, isn't it?") And how I haverepeatedly described the way you set the clock on the microwave, which occasionally has to be done again when we lose power. ("See that "CLOCK" button? Yeah. Now push it.")
Lest you think Lars is dumb, let me assure you he is quite extremely intelligent. One of the smartest guys I know. And also one of the most helpless. But only in very focused ways. So if a mullioned pane of glass (circa 1919) in the vestibule of our house shatters, as happened last year, and I run to call a glazier, Lars will stop me and say, "I can fix that!" No matter that he has never done anything of the sort in his entire life. And he does it, and does it well, saving us probably a hundred dollars.
There are lots of other things he does that I can't -- or won't. Which is probably more to the point.
As long as Lars has me to turn on the TV for him, why should he bother?
So the other night when he said, "Now HOW exactly do I do on-demand again?" I killed him with kindness.
"I KNOW," I said. "It's really hard. It's kind of like programming. I mean, I know you are really really good at QA, but you're not a programmer. You would struggle with that. And this is kind of like programming. It's REALLY hard. But I have faith in you, Lars. I know you can do it. BECAUSE YOU CAN READ THAT DEADER THAN DEAD LANGUAGE CRAP YOU BRING TO BED EVERY NIGHT."
"That is what I read to put me to sleep," he said.
I showed him the little on-demand button -- really, much too little, I don't know what Verizon was thinking when they designed that remote -- and he pushed it, and I guided him through the process of selecting a movie.
He did it all by himself, and it was a lot easier than programming. Actually, it was even easier than software QA. The question is: Will he be able to do it again tomorrow?
I'll let you know as soon as I know. Because I know you want to know. Who wouldn't?