I’m so reliant on technology, and that’s sad

Derrick Knutson
Derrick Knutson

As I’m writing this column — on my personal laptop I brought into work because my work computer is having an epic brain fart — I’m watching the little cursor on my work computer’s screen dart back and forth and click on areas within the computer’s inner workings I never even knew existed.

Jessica, one of ECM’s computer gurus, is patched in from Coon Rapids and working to fix my email account, which is currently in an unusable state. I’m sure she’ll get it operational again, but this little snafu made me realize just how sad it is that I’m so reliant on technology to do my job.

I’m sure this is the case with most jobs, sans lumberjack.

I have every bit of information for every page of the paper in my email folders until it gets uploaded onto our server and formatted for the paper’s pages.

There are no paste-up boards here anymore, folks. The Selectric II typewriter is a relic of the past.

These two antiques of the newspaper biz could have helped me this week.

I could have yelled, “Don’t worry about my nonfunctioning computer, I have all my stories written up on reams of stuff called paper!”

That would have just been dandy.

Instead, I’m sitting here writing this column, watching all of my email folders being slowly re-imported and realizing it’s actually kind of embarrassing how many messages I’ve kept since I’ve started here.

When that process started, the status bar said there were 19,000-some items to be imported.

My explanation to Jessica: “I’m sorry for being such an email pack rat. I like keeping stuff for a while. It’s like collecting electronic antiques.”

The real explanation is I’m sometimes one of those people, when it comes to work, anyway, who can’t seem to get rid of things because I feel like “Hey, maybe I might need to go back and look at this again.”

This is probably the fault of a managing editor I worked with at a paper in North St. Paul.

Some obscure problem would come up, and she’d magically find a piece of paper from the early 1990s in her desk of many drawers that would solve our conundrum. It was uncanny.

I thought maybe I could be this way with emails, but apparently hoarding more than a year’s worth of messages makes one’s computer operate very slowly and eventually fail.

As far as I know, a desk drawer has never failed because it was too full of paper.

So from now on, maybe I’ll print absolutely everything I’m working on so I have a backup in case the technology upon which I so rely sputters out again.

Coworkers might not be able to find me amid the mountain of paper, but if they listen closely, they could probably ascertain my location by the muffled clicking of keys on a Selectric II.

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