You refuse to ask for help.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


You're doing it all wrong

December 15, 2014

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

"You're doing everything wrong."

That's what my dad would say to me when he found me messing up simple tasks. Like loading the garbage can. (How was I to know that heavy bags went in first?)

So it's not a big thing. I'm hoping you'll see this advice the same way. Just seven things you need to know.

1. You've adjusted your car's left and right mirrors totally wrong. You set them up so you can see to the rear. That's wrong. If you adjust them by making sure you can see the side of your car in the edge of each mirror, you're missing the point. You already have a rear-view mirror, inside the car. Adjust the outside mirrors to cover your blind spots far out at the left and right. If you can see the side of your car, the mirrors aren't aimed out far enough.

2. You set up your kids' bicycles so the seat will hurt them. Having the seat too low -- the way nearly every parent does it -- can cause knee injuries. Bad ones. Adjust the seat so that your kids almost have to straighten their legs with the pedal all the way down. (Get a longer seat post if the seat can't be raised high enough.)

3. You plug your computer into a wall outlet. Never do that. Always plug it into a 120-volt power strip that has an on/off switch. After you shut down your computer, turn off the switch on the power strip. This keeps bad stuff -- computer malware -- from turning your computer on in the middle of the night and using it for shameful activities, such as stealing data or joining with other "captured" PCs to attack government networks in coordinated "botnet" assaults.

4. You're arranging blind dates with bozos just to save money. I mean blind dates for your printer, of course, each time you stick cheap photo paper into the unsuspecting paper chute. I have never yet seen cheap photo paper that I'd like my printer to go steady with. Pay a little extra and get photos you're proud of. Kodak photo paper is good.

5. You drive at 75 or 80 "because that's how fast everybody else is going." Everybody else isn't going that fast, of course. Just you and your fellow speed demons in the passing lane. And since when is it OK to do something illegal just because someone else does it?

6. You've never, ever backed up the files on your computer or tablet. Real men (and women) don't make backups, right? They just tend to cry a lot when they lose their priceless photos or financial records. Remember: Hard drives are only human, in a perverse electronic way. You definitely will lose your stuff. That's guaranteed. The only question is when.

7. You refuse to ask for help. This is a guy thing, I suppose. I'm in this category. I can do it myself, right? Er, usually. I mean, sometimes. I'll never forget watching my neighbor Tom bent over my garden tractor, in the dark, replacing a transmission part by feel. Sure, I could have done that. Yeah. Right.