I think Iím 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, Iím going to paint a saying on his side thatís 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 ainít broke, donít fix it."
When the words dry, Iím 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.
Very contentedly watching what comes next will be payback for what they did last week.
You see, a while back, I was notified that my providerís home page was going to be "improved" in order to give me more features and better service.
I shuddered at the thought because Iíve 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 Ė 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 didnít 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 providerís "tech support" office.
Lord, give me strength.
After navigating a phone menu that wouldíve tested the patience of Mother Theresa and didnít have the option to "Press 5 if youíd 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 itís gone."
"Your address book is gone?"
"Is there an echo here?"
"An echo here?"
"Forget it. How do I get my address book back?"
"Youíre sure itís gone"
"No, Iím 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 hasnít the faintest idea of how to fix my problem."
"Iíll have to speak to my next level supervisor. Is that all right with you?"
"Do I have 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 Iíd 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. Weíll 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 Iíd collected over the years, and individually typed them back into my address book.
Ye gads and three-eyed bats. What part of "If it ainít broke, donít fix it" donít these yahoos understand?
I think I speak for many out here whoíve come to believe that "new and improved" now means that itís 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, Iím going to find that elephant and turn him loose.
I donít think thereís a jury on earth that wouldnít be sympathetic.