Friday, March 09, 2007


213 Stepmaster

Why do something in one or two steps when you can do it in ten or twelve? It’s the new American Way. Get with it. Forget all that Yankee Ingenuity, that Teutonic efficiency, that crisp performance.

It’s hard for those of a particular bent to learn this skill. But it IS a skill, and you SHOULD learn it.

Corporations and government have mastered it. The last four generations have mastered it. Why not you?

Need an example? Okay. Let’s start with something simple. This is being typed around tax time in 2007. So let’s use that.

OLD WAY: gather pertinent data, fill out tax form (or have a tax service do it,) submit to the IRS.

NEW WAY: Throw any arriving paperwork in a box or folder. Weeks later, search for the folder, open up all the paperwork, re-file.

-hunt for last year’s return and fail to find it.

-search the yellow pages for a tax preparer. Don’t find one. Call or write around and ask friends and associates. Ignore what they tell you.

-search for paperwork file. Find it. Make sure you remember, this time, where you put it.

-hunt for last year’s return in the same places you didn’t find it last time. Fail again to find it.

-re-find tax documents file. Put it in briefcase.

-hunt a third time for last year’s return, also in the same places you failed to find it last time and two times ago. This time, FIND it.

-put in same briefcase as folder.

-hunt for check register with all the expenses highlighted.

See? Before you know it, you can turn a step or two or three into a full month’s activity.

There are a large number of Grand Master Stepmasters. GM, Ford, Chrysler, Bloomberg LP, AOL, any HMO, Verizon, Microsoft, your bank.

“Hello and welcome to Stepmaster National Bank. Our menu has changed, so please listen to the following nine options.” Naturally, option nine is “hear more options.”

Ford took 60 years to re-introduce the Lincoln Zephyr (but only one to kill it. Well, not really kill it, just give it another name.)

“You’ve Got Mail!” Go to AOL mail. Click on open. Wait for the log in page to appear (this can take hours.) Enter your log in name and password. Click “enter” and wait and wait and wait.

Push “close” and the electric garage door starts to descend, stops in mid passage and re-rises. Check the batteries in the remote control. Clean off the electric safety eye. Press “close” again and it closes. Maybe.

Instructions for cleaning furnace filter: (1) turn off furnace. (2) remove the cosmetic cover. (3) unscrew the safety door over the fan. (two screws.) remove the safety door. (4) wiggle the filter around until it comes out. (5) put in a new filter (which you have to wiggle around to get to fit. (6) replace safety door (two screws, making sure the door fits securely in the clips below or the furnace won’t re-start. (7) make sure the screws are tight (but not too tight, whatever that means.) (8) replace the cosmetic door, making sure it sits properly in the safety clips or the furnace won’t re-start. (9) turn on the furnace. (10) wait. Re-starting isn’t instantaneous. The machine has to believe you really mean it. (11) discard old filter in a safe and prudent manor.

Anyone want to track the steps THAT would take?

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

(c) 2007 WJR

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