An example... and of course I’m going to give an example. I mean, what’s the use of writing a blog if I don’t give examples? Right?
Okay. My satellite receiver was acting up. I had no proper guide, I couldn’t get my remote to up and down some channels, about every third power on the satellite wouldn’t kick in and so on and so on and so on.
What I did is what most people would do. I phoned the satellite supplier company representative. And he told me, after I’d explained that I’d already followed their soft off and hard off instructions, that they would send me a new receiver. “Just follow the simple instructions when you receive the receiver,” he said.
Translated, that means, ‘It’ll be a piece of cake’.
Yes, sir. I will certainly do that. I will follow the instructions like some Christian politicians follow the Ten Commandments.
The receiver arrived in a big box which I picked up at the Post Office. I brought it home, but didn’t open it for a few days. Why didn’t I open it for a few days? Because I knew, in my heart of hearts, that this was not going to be a piece of cake. Stay tuned.
So, I did. One of the simple directives was for me to phone a rep, so they could get the receiver up and running. They’d turn the key so to speak. Give it the boot.
So, I did that. I did phone them and talk to them. Well, not really. What I did was listen to a computer voice, who didn’t have to worry about being monitored ‘for quality purposes’. And, of course, I pushed a multitude of buttons and more multitudinous buttons until I got to an instruction that shook the confidence out of my Stanfield undergarments.
This is what it was. This is not an exact quote, but it does describe the spirit of the instructions. “Please make sure you are able to be close to your television set before you talk to a living, breathing representative.”
I hung up at this point. Because our phone was in the bedroom and the television and its connection to the big pie plate on our pole which is connected to the satellites that whir around the world was in the living room. You see, our phone cord was only about twelve feet long. Our television would be about forty feet away. I would have to have X-ray vision or some kind of periscope thing to see the television. Also, I don’t think the remote would work from that distance.
What I did do was put twenty-five bucks on my cell phone. Our area has, just recently, received cell phone coverage, so that was an option.
While I was phoning the magic number on my cell phone I began to worry about the being put on hold thing. Almost guaranteed, because it’s quite obvious that I would surely be put on hold and then I would have to use up my precious cell phone time while I waited for the heavenly guidance.
But guess what? I wasn't put on hold because they had this neat feature. If I pressed one, it would allow me to hang up and they would get back to me when a representative was available. Neato.
So, I did and a short time later the cell phone rang and I answered it. And it was them. Glory, hallelujah!
A woman, sounding like she may never have seen snow, was very polite and began to gently guide me. I did what she told me to do and it didn’t work. I did some more of what she told me to do and that didn’t work and all the time I could hear my cell phone going, tick, tick, tick.
At some point she told me to take the card out of my receiver. I didn’t know what she was talking about. She explained that there is a card in my receiver and she helped me find it. I took it out and we did some more pushing of buttons as I sat in front of the television set with my cell phone clutched in my sweaty little hand and with my arm beginning to ache. Which caused me to switch to the other arm.
Anyway, we were pretty damn close to getting the guide to work when I heard the bad news. The time on my cell phone had expired. All gone, right to the last drop. All that effort was just wasted breath and button pushing.
What to do? What to do? Sue to the rescue. She gave me her new cell phone to use. So I got her new horn to my ears and once again, phoned the proper number. However, while I was waiting for somebody to answer, Sue’s phone flashed me an important message. It was almost out of power. Not out of time, but out of power. You’ve got to love these machines. So I hung up. Which is really difficult to do with a cell phone, but you get my drift.
I told her, before she started giving out instructions, that I couldn’t see my television because I was in another room and my phone didn’t have a long enough cord. And by gumbo if she didn’t tell me that it was okay. Oh really? Now she tells me?
So, we began, once again, to try to nudge or convince my satellite receiver to get back on its horse while I ran back and forth.
“Do this,” she’d say, and I’d run the forty-some feet with my tiny pixel of instructions to where I could see the television, press the required buttons on my remote and then wait to see what happened on the screen.
Then I’d scramble back, with the answer tucked away in my sweaty little noggin. All the time trying not to trip over Buster who was scrambling back and forth with me. Because he was really getting into this exciting new game.
This went on for some time. The woman always patient. Sounding like a person you’d find working at a Phone-a-Saint Call Centre. While I got increasingly enervated and quite tired of the whole affair. Buster got increasingly frazzled too and decided to retreat to his chewing-my-hockey-glove activity. Which is to Buster, akin to lighting up a smoke.
Finally the representative told me she was going to have to send me a new smart card. And, when it arrived in the mail, I was to just follow the instructions and if I had any problems to just give a rep a call.
“It’s a date,” I felt like saying.
I got the new card a few days ago. It’s sitting on a shelf. I’ve read the simple instructions, but I haven’t put the card in yet because I’m afraid to.
Theodore Roethke, Words For Young Writers
When I start a blog, I usually sit in my thinking chair. It’s an old frayed cloth chair that is partially off its rocker. Anything that is partially off its rocker is a good source for this blog.
Now, I’ll show you an example of how I would begin a blog and then how I would rewrite it.
A few mornings ago, I was sitting in my chair looking out the window while watching the birds eating seeds at our bird feeders.” There, that’s my first attempt.
Here’s my second attempt.
“A few mornings ago, I was resting my weary keister on my old rocking chair while gazing out the window at the birds dining at our bird feeders.”
“One snowy morning, with my weary keister planted deep into my old rocking chair, I gazed out the window. Why was I looking out the window? Because I was fascinated by a mob of feathered diners at our bird feeders who were exhibiting such terrible fits of bad table manners.”
Etc., etc., etc.
Happy New Year to All!