“I need to make a copy of this document before I fax it because I only have one copy and don’t want to lose it.”
I wish that was a quote I got from the show “Matlock” or perhaps an episode of “Murder She Wrote,” or a website called, “Crazy things old people who don’t understand technology say.”
But it’s not. That’s something I said ten years ago when I was about to send one of my first faxes.
I’m not sure why I thought that if I faxed a piece of paper it would be forever gone. Maybe I thought the fax machine was a magical device full of elves that chopped up that paper into tiny pieces. Then they fed those pieces through a series of tubes that eventually connected to another fax machine on the other side of the country at which other elves would reassemble it for the recipient. I’m not sure what my logic was there, but despite having gotten over my fear of fax machines, technology still baffles me.
And lately, in addition to all the office prayers I confessed to, I’ve found myself making some high tech prayers as well. Here are three tech-flavored prayers I tend to say:
1. The Outlook Recall Prayer
Outlook has a feature where you can “recall” or take back an email you sent to someone. This is theoretically useful if you sent an error out or sent the wrong thing to the wrong person. But, this never, ever works. What usually happens is that you’re not able to recall it and by sending a recall, you’ve now tempted everyone who got it to go read it. Immediately. Sending a recall out is like yelling, “EVERYONE GO CHECK THAT EMAIL RIGHT NOW.” If you really need to recall a message you have a better shot sending up a prayer than pressing that button in Outlook.
2. The Synch My Music Prayer
Sometimes, I’ll try to buy a song from iTunes on my iPhone and it will tell me, “You already own that song.” But then I’ll look in my iPhone and realize it’s not there. The song is trapped somewhere on a computer or in a file or in outer space. (See my fax story for the level of my high tech intelligence.) I am terrified to synch my iPhone with my two computers because I always feel like I am one wrong move away from completely losing all my music forever.
3. The Tweet & Facebook Reply All Prayer
If you use Twitter, then you know the sweaty horror of sending out a personal direct message to a friend and then thinking, “wait, did I DM my friend or tweet that out to everyone on Twitter?” That’s a horrible feeling, forcing you to immediately go to your list of tweets to calm your panic as you pray it was a DM. Facebook is even worse because their default on messages is reply to all. The button literally says “Reply All” but it’s still easy to hit that by accident. A few weeks ago someone sent me and possibly dozens of other people a really personal email about owing a friend money, a girl he wasn’t dating but planned on marrying and just about every other situation you wouldn’t want strangers receiving thinking it was for them. This is a prayer I often think about, the reply to everyone prayer.
If you read that list and laughed at my Luddite like tech skills, don’t laugh, help fix. I own more copies of Babyface’s song “Whip Appeal” than a person really should but can’t find any of them in the mysterious forest that is my music collection. I feel like sometimes my laptop, desktop and iPhone are playing keep away from me, passing the song I’m looking for back and forth over my head as I scramble around like a third grader on the playground.
Maybe you’ve got iTunes figured out. But are there any other areas of technology you find yourself tempted to send up a high tech prayer about?