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Commitment Costs

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

I’d like to talk a bit about relationships, love, and commitment. But first, I wanna be a bit geeky…

Several years back, I got a phone call from an older relative. He knew that I was good with computers and he hoped that I could help him resolve a problem with his computer over the phone. Apparently, someone else allegedly had downloaded something naughty and/or malicious and it was causing problems. I couldn’t see what he was looking at, and, due to his technical ignorance, he wasn’t able to articulate to me what he was seeing, let alone the actual problem. After several minutes of frustration on both ends of the phone, I was able to walk him through shutting down the computer and then starting it back up. He had no clue what he was doing but I could hear the computer making the shutdown and startup sounds so I know he was pressing the right buttons even if he didn’t. Once the computer was started up again, I knew that there were no other programs running so I had a better idea of what he was looking at. I paused, took a deep breath, and asked again “What do you need me to help you do, exactly?” To this he said – clearly for the first time – “I just need help turning the computer off.” I laughed out loud and then walked him through the first half of the procedure we had just walked through. He informed me that the screen was blank and that the box wasn’t making any more noises, but he wasn’t sure if it was actually off or not. I assured him that it was. He was very grateful for my help.

I share this story just to say that we all have different levels of aptitude and experience when it comes to computers. Some people use computers only when absolutely necessary. Others have developed a sort of relationship with their computers. Countless nerds, myself included, actually name our computers.
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F3AR and H8 [***]

August 7, 2009 Leave a comment
What happens when an animal is confused and cornered? I found out many years ago when my family and I house-sat for a friend of ours. Besides watching the house, we also watched the friend’s dog, a Cocker Spaniel. He was a friendly dog, but he wasn’t really sure what to make of us. Instead of seeing his owner who he was familiar with, he saw only us strangers for several days. He never fully adjusted to us being in his space. He did eventually accept that we were responsible for feeding him and letting him in and out of the house, but I wouldn’t say that he was ever comfortable with us. 

Being as young as I was and having grown up with several dogs of my own, it seemed natural to me to attempt to pet the dog, which he hesitantly let me do. My own dogs were always comfortable with me and so I could get away with things like wrestling, pulling tails, barking at them, and getting in their face. Well, this dog naturally was not that comfortable with me, and so when I put my face right up to his and made silly baby noises like “goo goo” and made silly faces, he didn’t know how to react. He tried to back away but since there was something behind him he couldn’t. I didn’t notice it in the moment, but the dog quickly began to panic. As much as a Cocker Spaniel can, this dog had an expression of fear on his face and in his physical demeanor. He started to freak out, and yet I persisted with my nonsense. So, the dog did what virtually any creature would do in a similar situation: He struck my face with his fangs and then ran away! He got me pretty good. There was blood but no long term damage.

Years of experience, starting with this incident, have taught me that neither dogs nor humans like to have unfamiliar people up in their face or in their business. Read more…