One of the best things about modern technology, hands down, is that it gives people something to complain about. People just love to complain – and Jewish people are no exception. Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, scientists are able to work around the clock to shove inventions out onto the market so fast and with so many bugs that people can complain more today than ever before.
People just love to complain – and Jewish people are no exception.
Indeed, we live in an amazing age.
But what do we enjoy complaining about the most? According to a recent poll of the top 20 irritating pieces of technology, the invention that annoys us the most is car alarms.
Sure, the idea is a good one. Car alarms, ideally, are designed so that when someone is about to steal a car, the car will make a high-pitched noise, at which point three things will happen:
- EVERYONE will look around to see where the noise is coming from.
- WHOEVER’S CAR IT IS will come running.
- THE BURGLAR will run away, so as not to draw attention to himself.
Unfortunately, here’s what actually happens:
- EVERYONE rolls over in bed and tries to drown out the noise.
- WHOEVER’S CAR IT IS doesn’t know that it’s his car, and he’s just as annoyed as everyone else.
- ALL OF THEM lie there and think, “I wish this guy will just steal the car already, so we can get some sleep.”
The main issue, really, is that no one knows what his own car alarm sounds like. So I’m thinking that maybe we should be able to personalize our alarms, like ringtones, so that the burglar will be working on the car, and all of a sudden he’ll hear some music, and maybe he’ll walk off to answer his phone. Personally, I would make my alarm sound like an ice cream truck, so that everyone will come running over.
The second most frustrating piece of technology, according to polls, is that little egg timer that appears on your computer screen, especially when you’re in a rush. Why are we timing eggs all of a sudden? It’s not even like you can watch the hourglass filling and know how much time you have left. It’s basically the equivalent of someone holding up a finger when you want to ask them something. They don’t actually mean “one minute”. They mean, “Stare at the ceiling for a while, and I’ll get to you.”
But at least there are buttons you can push, as opposed to printers, which was number 10 on the list. Everyone knows how frustrating printers can be. You have a tray that can hold 100 pieces of paper, but if you put in more than five, it gets stuck. And sometimes, for no reason at all, it will print the same thing 500 times, or sneak a blank page into the middle of a 75-page business report, or have your computer make the “bong” sound.
“You’re running low on ink. Proceed?”
Yes, of course proceed! I’m Jewish! I have a brand new cartridge sitting on the floor next to my printer, but for eighty-five dollars, I’m going to keep the old one in there until every last drop of ink is gone. Sometimes I even take out the old cartridge and shake it.
But when the printer breaks down, what do you do? It has one button. You press it, and nothing happens. You press it again, and still nothing happens. It’s basically a “feel better” button. So you open and close all the little doors on the printer, and pull out any bits of paper that you think are jammed, but for some reason, the printer still thinks it’s jammed.
“No you’re not!” you shout. Like that helps.
So you turn the printer on and off, hoping it will forget that there’s a problem, like your computer does. But it doesn’t forget. It turns back on, and, to get you back, it first makes a sound that makes you think it’s printing, but really it’s not. You can’t outwit the printer.
Another thing that people are very annoyed at (coming in at number 5) is automated phone systems:
“Thank you for calling. To continue in English, press 1.”
So you press 1 (or possibly 2 -- it doesn’t make much difference in the long run), and you’re presented with yet another menu. And none of the choices will sound exactly like the thing you want to talk about, and there’ll be nine of them. So you have to remember: “Okay, number 3 sounds like it might be the right one,” and hold up 3 fingers to remind yourself. “OK, 5 sounds like it might be right also,” and you hold up five on the other hand. “Three or five, three or five. Eight sounds pretty good too.”
And how about the ones that claim to have voice recognition technology?
“If this is correct, say yes.”
“We didn’t get that. Did you say no?”
“We didn’t get that either. Was that a yes?”
Another thing that made the list, of course, was alarm clocks (at #14). Yes, for doing exactly what they’re supposed to do. I feel bad for my alarm clock. The poor guy takes so much abuse. I get upset if it doesn’t go off, and I get upset if it does. It’s not his fault it’s 7:00.
Or maybe it’s other people’s alarms that are annoying. The person wants to get up at seven, so he sets his alarm for six, and he keeps hitting snooze until nine. Then he gets out of bed and starts yelling at all the people who’ve been awake since six, waiting for his alarm to ring every nine minutes, about how he’s running late.
But complaining about technology is definitely not a new concept. Our forefathers were also irritated by these kinds of things.
“Don’t you hate it,” they would say to each other, “when the rooster crows, and you throw a rock at it, and five minutes later it’s crowing again?”
“Yeah. Not to mention the mess it leaves on the nightstand.”
“Right! And isn’t it annoying when the printer just… stops working?”
“I know! Those printers! The other day my printer was like, ‘Ow! My hand is cramping up!’ How am I supposed to print out 10,000 copies of the gazette at this rate?”
But most of you don’t care. You’re all thinking the same thing: “Hey, how come these poll-takers didn’t call me?”
They probably tried, but you didn’t pick up because, like the rest of us, you feel that one of the most annoying pieces of technology is whatever system these companies are using to figure out exactly when we’re eating supper so they can call us up and bother us with these incessant polls. In fact, I’m surprised that this didn’t make the top 20.
Or maybe it did. Maybe these poll-takers are biased.
“You know what annoys me? All these polls.”
“Sorry, we didn’t catch that. Can you please repeat the answer?”
“I said all these annoying polls!”
“Sorry, we didn’t catch that.”
“Fine. Car alarms.”