Blog: A Bad Magic Trick

As most of you who read my blog/column know, I am technologically challenged, which is a gross understatement. I wish there were a moratorium on all new technology, because I need a decade or two to catch up on all the new fangled gadgetry, which is being invented for one purpose and one purpose only — to confuse and overwhelm me.

I remember being in an office way back when and noticing a large piece of equipment on a person’s desk. I had never seen anything quite like it, and being a curious person, I needed to know what it was.

“What’s that?” I asked incredulously as if I had just seen something from outer space.

The person whose desk this strange contraption lay upon was more than thrilled to educate me and began what sounded like a tutorial.

“That is a fax machine,” my lesson began. “If you wish to send a paper electronically (whatever that means) to anywhere in the world, this machine will do it.” 

The person seemed quite impressed with himself and looked to me for some recognition that I was dutifully following along, and so I nodded as if I understood which, of course, I did not.

“You have come at just the right time,” the professor explained, “because I am about to send this paper which I hold in my hand directly to Hong Kong.” The person then put the paper into the machine and dialed a few numbers. The paper descended into the machine and within seconds reappeared. “The paper is now in Hong Kong,” this individual reported with a great sense of pride on his countenance.

I have never in my life seen a worse magic trick. I could not believe this idiot thought he could fool me, and I was quick to show him I was no sucker. “Are you kidding me? The paper is not in Hong Kong. Why, I just saw it come out of the very machine you put it in. I wasn’t born yesterday,” I told him.

That confident smile on his face vanished. He had been caught by an observant eye. He tried to explain that the paper was actually in Hong Kong despite the fact it was right there in front of me, but I was not buying any of it. 

It took me a few years to understand what this so-called fax machine was all about, and I finally went to the store and bought one for myself. I was quite proud of myself for getting with the program. I then went to the same office and reported to my magician friend that I finally understood, and was the proud owner of a brand new fax machine. I looked at his desk and the machine was, much to my surprise, nowhere to be seen.

“Where is your fax machine?” I asked.

He looked at me dumbfounded and with derision in his voice explained, “Nobody uses a fax machine anymore. It is integrated into your printer.” I have no idea what he was talking about and still use my fax machine. I am sure that someday I will buy a printer with an integrated fax machine, but that day is not around the corner.   

A note to reader: There is a rumor going around that some new technology called “scanning” will replace the integrated printer. Do not believe any of this nonsense.

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