Thursday, May 14, 2009

Double, Double, Oil and Trouble

Imagine you’ve murdered an entire Saturday afternoon engaged in the mind-numbing task of washing your windows; body contorted into a multitude of obtuse angles, forced to emulate horrible, palsied motions just to squeeze a holster of Windex and an oversized roll of paper towels into new reaches of awkwardness. And while you plugged away with the ineptitude of a one-legged Mr. Clean – engaging in clownish acrobatics to the bemusement (or alarm) of the neighborhood – your friends wasted the hours by mixing bottomless margaritas or participating in swingers orgies, or both, in that order.

Moreover, let’s assume that after slamming the final window against its frame, yourself a sweaty mix of anger and confusion, some kid slaps his mouth against the glass, blowing air forward to comically flair his cheeks. And let’s say this kid is a snot-nosed brat and continues to smear his fluids on your windows as a daily ritual, steaming up the view, perhaps because he thinks you’re amused or perhaps because he aims to disrespect you in some weird game of animalistic dominance. In fact, your threats of consigning him indefinitely to a wheelchair only provoke disappointment within the community, although everyone knows that you possess neither the agility nor the cojones to crack the kid’s spinal column, much less his pinky. Sadly, for as long as this halfwit governs the block with mischievous idiocy, your windows will assume all the charm of a derelict-ridden bus depot. And you will like it. Or you will move.

Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. is the mischievous idiot on my street and, dear reader, on yours. Not quite physically imposing (especially since his illness), Jobs is credited with salvaging the once-marginalized company he co-founded in 1976, and steering it toward renewed greatness with a combination of technological prowess and aesthetic innovation. iMacs, iPods, the Apple retail store, and the coveted iPhone all exemplify the CEO’s second tenure in Cupertino, one flanked by an impressive recapture of market share. Unfortunately, this stint has been tarnished by the growing acceptance of touch screen technology, likening users of the reliable QWERTY keyboard to prehistoric fossils favoring washboards and 78rpm phonographs. Although the iPhone offers hundreds of “apps” which run the gamut from making dinner reservations, analyzing plant life, shaking babies(!), and simulating the snorting of cocaine in true 1980’s power lunch style, none offer the luxury of reverting to a traditional keypad and freeing the display screen from objectionable smudges.

Jobs must have the cleanest fingers in the universe, and obviously never picks his nose nor allows his underlings to blight his precious arsenal of all things touch. Perhaps it’s my OCD talking, but just as fingerprinted jewel cases incited cardiac arrest in the heady ‘90’s, the disrespect of plexiglass screens with unseemly recipes of grease and oil sends me wincing. Suddenly, years of advancement regress in one fell swoop, as the lords of connectivity place new generations of portable devices into the hands of chronic masturbators, ass scratchers, and mechanics; doomed to coat their expensive gadgetry with juices sundry and unpleasant. Anyone who’s ever held a phone to their ear for longer than 15 seconds knows that the resulting film on the display window is forever smeared. Likewise, in speaking for my Mediterranean brethren – never to recognize a day of dry skin, save the occasional chapped lip – touch screen technology is a death sentence, with the only solution being a raid on your local proctologist’s office for a pallet’s worth of latex gloves.

More importantly, will society, in good conscience, ignore the cultural insensitivity levied toward the burgeoning Indian market? After all, it remains customary to wipe one’s ass with one’s left hand in some areas of the curry capital, or so stated my (Indian) marketing professor in 1996. If you thought oily fingerprints were a problem, try cleaning a virtual keyboard after it’s passed through a communal rectum and used inadvertently as fly paper. Then again, said professor was addicted to Virginia Slims cigarettes and harbored an unnatural craving for McDonald’s breakfast burritos, thus lessening the credibility of his declarations.

Most likely, I could purchase heavy drapes for my windows and avoid the blotches of Mr. Jobs and his hooligan fanboy contingent. But most of those flowery curtains are geared for the AARP crowd, and besides, I actually enjoy the wooded view and small brook outside of my home. Clearly, no amount of Windex is going to halt this progression toward scum buildup. Just as mp3 players taught us to shun
audio quality in favor of gigabyte size, touch screen displays are pushing convenience over cleanliness. The least I can do is step off my soapbox, join the neighbors at their margarita party, and attempt to excise any lingering demons. As Bill Gates once argued, “The people who resist change will be confronted by the growing number of people who see that better ways are available thanks to technology.”

Or, as they say in certain circles: “Bend over, here it comes again.”


Matt Shea said...

Mike - I too am constantly cleaning snot off my shiny iPhone glass - very painful indeed. As for backside-wiping, I'm sure that the world is just waiting for a toilet paper app that will make it acceptable to do such a thing with the iPhone. On the topic of Jobs' diminishing stature, perhaps some Montalban fakeys are in order.

MVD said...

Hey Matt - At 61, Ricardo Montalban (as Khan) was more jacked than most 30 year olds. But soon enough, I’m sure Jobs will build an app which deposits anabolic steroids through the user's skin, thus enabling us to live the dream of immense strength and shrunken testicles for all eternity. Until then, enjoy the toilet paper functionality. Hopefully it’s two-ply.

Theresa said...

I so know what you're saying. I deal with a lot of foriegn folk who, more often than not, have to call someone who speaks English to talk to me. Then they hand me their phone...Man, do I dread his transfer because their phone screen is ALWAYS greasy. If I'm having a "I don't care if I get fired because I was rude" day, I ask them to wipe the phone off first. I don't care, it's gross. Where's the common courtesy?! Great blog!

MVD said...

Ultimately, Theresa, humans are disgusting. We're bipedal apes with limited reasoning power (some more limited than others). I don't want people touching my plasma television, I don't want them imprinting my PC monitor, and I don't want them tainting my portable device screen.

Obviously, I must be crazy.

growingupartists said...

When the Bastard feels compelled, people listen.

MVD said...

You're damn right they listen, Growing Up Artists. I'm the guy with the megaphone waking you up each morning (or, to be fair, every fourth morning).

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