I am writing this post for two reasons: to get the word out about a rapidly spreading problem, and to solicit support for it. Or, more accurately, for myself. I have been diagnosed with a syndrome called BTK, or Bad Technological Karma. It is not, the experts believe, a serious condition, but it does make navigating everyday tasks quite difficult, and the more advanced our society becomes, the worse the affliction.
You may have had a hint here and there that you yourself suffer from this malady, but have been in denial. BTK starts slowly, and then seeps into every aspect of life. Let me describe the symptoms for you, so that you can see if you fit the profile, and I can find some company in my misery.
But first, some history. The genesis of BTK can be found back in the mists of time, with the VCR and its incomprehensible requirements for programming. VCR brain freeze hit epidemic proportions in this country, but that somewhat minor ailment has mutated, as do many viruses, into something resembling catatonia. This state is induced when one is trying to figure out how to use operate the multiple entertainment objects in the home. Some researchers have attempted to address the ailment by designing a one-size-fits-all remote control, but that device is doubly sinister in its opacity and only serves to exacerbate the condition.
Since time immemorial, or at least since the advent of the personal computer, there have always been computer hardware issues and software concerns: regarding the former, unpredictable freezing and crashing; on the software side, word processing that won’t search, random fonts appearing uncalled for in documents, and …
The disorder continues to spread, however, and it has now affected every aspect of our electronic life. I’m talking about the watch battery that runs out every six months. The microwave oven that sparks and dies. The cordless phone that only works when it feels like it. The car’s keyless entry fob that separates from the ring and disappears, rendering the automobile useless.
If you find that your electronic devices begin to display obstreperous behavior, it may be that you are the cause. You may be suffering from Bad Technological Karma. I would suggest an online support group, but knowing our affliction, it probably wouldn’t work.