Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Expansion Team

221 The Expansion Team

Why do in two or three steps what you can do in ten or more?

Calculated inefficiency seems to be the order of the day. Stuff you used to be able to do quickly now takes forever. And if you don't get overtime on the job, you're in trouble.

Even the simplest chores can be turned into the twisted, stretched and bent. Life as filled spaghetti bowl.

Can you answer the telephone by picking up the receiver? Not anymore. Now, you have to push at least one button. The only reason there aren't six buttons to push is that they haven't yet figured out to do it.

Write a letter: Take paper and pen in hand and write? Stick a piece of paper in the typewriter and type? Nah. Go to the start button, find the word processing program, put up a "new blank document," THEN type.

Office chores are the worst. Most of them not only force you to use complex technology, but to find and attract the attention of and then enlist the support of a superior officer, who probably does the same.

In the home, it’s much the same story. Sweep the floor. But first, move all the vases and plants and trinkets and what-all else you have lying there in a beautiful artistic arrangement.

Buy gas? Sure. Pull up to the pump, making sure the correct side of your car is facing the nozzle. Open the gas tank (usually from the inside – and whatever happened to gas tanks you opened up, twisted off the cap and started fueling or better yet had someone else start fueling FOR you?) Insert your credit card into the pump. Wait for approval. Get approval, select grade... pump gas, “do you want a receipt?” “yes,” “Printing receipt.” Thank you for choosing Chavez Oil, have a nice day and don’t forget to pick up that cup of coffee at our convenience store…”

Open a window: open a window. Or, figure out which way the dual window locks have to be turned to get the window open. THEN open the window.

This is sooooo Soviet. It’s kind of a make work plan, apparently started by middle managers fearing that it would be discovered that they have nothing to do, and would therefore lose their jobs.

It’s a trend to ceremonialism. Of course, ceremonies themselves are longer than they ever were. A nice shabbot service at the local synagogue used to take an hour or so. A Catholic mass was the same length as an “hour” with the psychotherapist, only in Latin. A Sunday morning Protestant service was an hour, give or take.

No more. Everything’s longer, more complicated, expanded.

Is it any wonder almost nothing gets done, and what DOES get done takes ten times longer than it either used to or should?

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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