Too many ‘improvements’ that make things worse

I think I’m going to find myself an elephant.

A rogue elephant with an abscessed tooth and a boil on his butt the size of a dinner plate.

Then, I’m going to paint a saying on his side that’s so simple that most people just naturally abide by it and are thus able to live their lives in relative peace.

That saying would be: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

When the words dry, I’m going to take that elephant down to the offices of my Internet service provider, open the doors, pop him in the mouth, swat that boil, and turn him loose inside that building.

Watching what comes next will be payback for what they did last week.

You see, a while back, I was notified that my provider’s home page was going to be “improved” in order to give me more features and better service.

I shuddered at the thought because I’ve been through these improvements before. Too, the old home page was just fine. If I wanted news, it was there. Weather? Same thing. Sports? Stock market quotes? E-mail? They were a click away. Contentment was my middle name.

Last week, though, they launched that puppy and — as expected — things went south almost immediately.

What initially steamed me was the fact that my computer took to displaying things in a jumbled fashion that was impossible to read. That was if it didn’t just go into vapor lock and need to be restarted to do anything at all.

I became more ticked off when I found that my entire e-mail address book had apparently been hijacked to some lost corner of the electronic universe. This led to a call to a very reluctant call to my provider’s “tech support” office.

Lord, give me strength.

After navigating a phone menu that would’ve tested the patience of Mother Theresa and didn’t have the option to “Press 5 if you’d like to detonate a low-yield thermonuclear device under our building,” I was informed that all representatives were busy and my call would be taken in the order in which it was received.

I was, apparently, several thousand calls down the line.

Finally, someone in a cubicle colony half a world away took my call and the discussion went approximately as follows:

“So what is your problem Mr. Seemoanex?”

“Your new web page has taken my entire e-mail address book and hidden it somewhere.”

“Your address book is hidden?”

“More likely it’s gone.”

“Your address book is gone?”

“Is there an echo here?”

“An echo here?”

“Forget it. How do I get my address book back?”

“You’re sure it’s gone?”

“No, I’m just kidding. I absolutely love to make late night phone calls in order to be placed on interminable hold and then talk to someone who likely hasn’t the faintest idea of how to fix my problem.”

“I’ll have to speak to my next level supervisor. Is that all right with you?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“A choice?”


At which point I was put on hold for about 15 minutes and summarily disconnected.

By now, I was beginning to mumble many of the colorful expressions I’d picked up while at sea. Still, I placed another call.

The result of the second call was a slow rise — with times on hold that approximated geological epochs — through three levels of supervisors. This call fell apart when they found out I was an Apple user.

“An Apple user. Oh, my. We’ll have to switch you over to the Apple support section.” And right there, gentle reader, I hung up before I said or did something that might have caused an international incident between India and the United States.

After calming myself to the point where I could type without breaking keys, I went into my backup files, printed out a list of the e-mail addresses that I’d collected over the years, and individually typed them back into my address book.

Ye gads and three-eyed bats. What part of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” don’t these yahoos understand?

I think I speak for many out here who’ve come to believe that “new and improved” now means that it’s never going to work like it used to.

But since there are those in the online world who are going to keep doing this to us, I’m going to find that elephant and turn him loose.

I don’t think there’s a jury on earth that wouldn’t be sympathetic.

Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Comments can be sent to:

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