"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Pencil Sharpener

Okay, well, I should be reading my camera book, but what am I doing instead?  Writing.  What can I say?  When the muse calls, it is important to listen.  'Now what is so all-fired important, Marigold, that you are shirking your photographic responsibilities and writing instead?', you ask.  Well, let me just say there are times when things simply have to be said, need to be said, literally beg to be said, and this is one of those times.

You probably remember the Goatmother?  You know, that woman with all the aliases?  As Goatmother's go, I suppose you could say she is a good one.  I mean she brings us hay, cleans up after us, passes out Peanuts.   She is kind-hearted and mostly even-tempered.  Mostly.  Well, perhaps not always.  But she does manage to still love Ella even though Ella is a punk and doesn't deserve it. 

Anyway, for all the good qualities the Goatmother possesses, there remains one area in which she is sadly lacking.  That, my friends, is in the area of all things technological.  Now I wouldn't say that she is completely lacking in technological or mechanical skills because, like most people, she is better than some and worse than others.  So really, I can't say she is exactly technologically-challenged.  Exactly.  Nor is it a matter of intelligence, for the Goatmother possesses as much capacity in that respect as most people.  No the problem is of an entirely esoteric nature, I suspect.  Something that no one can quite explain or fully comprehend, unless, of course, one happens to be similarly challenged.

Allow me to explain.  For one thing, the Goatmother's computer seems to take on a life of its own.  Things just happen.  Sometimes without her even having touched the thing.  Naturally, the Goatfather always accuses the Goatmother of having done something which caused whatever occurred.  But those of us in the know, realize that this is not the case and that the Goatmother actually didn't do anything.  No, machines seem to mysteriously know when the Goatmother is coming.  It is my belief they actually begin to snicker and  sport impish grins somewhere deep within their mechanistic souls, silently communicating with every other machine in close proximity.  You know, kind of like those studies they've done where when a tree gets damaged it somehow signals all the other trees to make them aware?  It's like that.  And of course when the Goatfather asks the Goatmother what exactly happened, the words are right there in her head, but, in some sort of misguided act of solidarity with the machines, they refuse to come out her mouth.  Thus you get such phrases as 'the thingy', or 'oh, you know that thing, or 'that whatchamacallit doohickey', or 'that thingamabobber dowidget'.

Which is why when I read this post by our friend, Lisa, in Maine, it prompted the comment I left.  'This sounds just like the Goatmother having a conversation with herself.'  And it did.  Go take a look for yourself.

So, then, by now you are probably wondering what all this has to do with the title of this post.  Trust me.  I'm coming to that, the reason being it is a perfect example of the mysterious phenomenon of which I speak.  It was like this.  The Goatmother was trying to calculate her Weight Watcher points.  This is an important task.  One needs a sharp pencil.  However, the Goatmother's pencil was as dull as a politician fifteen minutes into a campaign speech.  In the drawer, the Goatmother and Goatfather keep a small pencil sharpener which runs on batteries.  Now the day before, the Goatmother had sharpened her pencil.  (You realize that a LOT of point calculation goes on in this house and pencils become really dull, really fast.)  Anyway, at that time, she sharpened the pencil and placed the sharpener carefully back in the drawer.  But this time, when she went to sharpen her pencil, the Goatmother punched it into the little hole and met with nothing but silence. 

Please note, here, that no one else had touched the pencil sharpener since the day before when it had actually worked and been subsequently placed back into the drawer.  Nope, this time there was only silence.  The Goatmother shook it a little.  Nothing.  She put the pencil in the hole again.  Nothing.  'Hmmm ...', she thought. 'The batteries must be dead.'  So she looked at the bottom where she found a little plate with a small arrow pointing out the direction to push to get to the batteries.  She pushed.  Nothing.  She pried, she pushed, she banged it several times and pushed some more.  This went on for probably a full minute.  Finally, in desperation she marched up the stairs, and handed it to the Goatfather.  'How do you get to the batteries of this thing?' she asked.  The Goatgather turned it over and, with one tiny flick of his fingernail, popped the lid off.

That wasn't the end of it.  The Goatmother marched back down the stairs to the other drawer where the batteries are kept.  She took the old batteries out, noting which battery went in which way, because, after all, there were four of them.  She put the new batteries in and , after a struggle, got the little plastic lid back in place.  Now then!  Time to sharpen the pencil!  She put the pencil in the hole and  ... nothing.  She banged it on the heel of her hand a few times.  Still nothing.  'Hmmm ...', thought the Goatmother.  'I guess those new batteries weren't good.'  So, she commenced trying, yet again, to get the little plastic plate off the batteries.  'The Goatfather did it.  It was easy for him.  How did he do that?'

Back up the stairs marched the Goatmother, sharpener in hand, to give it, yet again, to the Goatfather.  The Goatfather  promptly popped the lid, without a struggle, and arranged the batteries. (Whose positions, by the way, were marked on the inside of the slot and did not need to be memorized at all.)  He replaced the lid and stuck a pencil in it.  Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

'Harumpffff!'  The Goatmother trudged back down the stairs, mumbling to herself .  She went to the place she had left the pencil so many minutes ago, and picked it up.  She placed the pencil into the hole and ... nothing.  She shook it.  She banged it a few times.  Nothing. By now, she knew she was beaten.  She turned and simply placed the pencil sharpener on the table, along with the pencil, and went outside.  I'm sure if we had thought to listen very closely, we might have heard the sniggering coming from somewhere deep within the bowels of that pencil sharpener.

This kind of thing happens a lot.  It's just like I told you.  The Goatmother is like one of those people who can't wear watches because they stop. Or one of those folks whose presence causes equipment to malfunction - one of those SLIders.   Oh well, don't worry Goatmother.  "Technology ... is a queer thing.  It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other." - Carrie P. Snow.  Maybe you're really better off.


Kelly said...

I feel for the Goatmother. As much as we love electronics I know that when we bring the box home Ted will hand me the directions and say what do we do? After many tries I start looking for the phone number to the company or either a 5 year old to make it work.

Marigold said...

Dear Kelly,
The Goatmother says she feels your pain, and that she feels they should consider rescinding child labor laws in order to enable us to hire them for their electronic expertise. You know, like technical consultants.

Buffybelle said...

It sounds like there is some kind of conspiracy to get Goatmother to exercise, up and down stairs. Why is Goatfather hanging out upstairs? What other items that use batteries are sitting around as bait for Goatmother to take upstairs? Otherwise hand operated pencil sharpeners and self winding watches, hand crank radios, might be the answer.

Faith said...

We have an electric sharpener which has failed to work for a couple of months now, maybe the goat father could help?

I have a pot of batteries (actually it is chicken shaped which I stll find highly amusing, it's a battery chicken) which I no longer know which are dead batteries and which are new, the problem is that when what think are new batteries don't work I put them back in as I think maybe it's just one of the four that doesn't work....hhhmmmmm

Have an excellent end of week and weekend marigold!

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

Oh baby do I ever understand the
Goatmother's issues. -moan-

Computers DO do things, on their own! Or computer adjuncts like Blogger and Yahoo Mail, DO do things, on their own. It all comes down to the same result.

You go to do something, on your computer, and it doesn't WORK the same WAY, any more. Bleahhhhhhh...



Oh bother!

"It's spring fever....
You don't quite know what it is you DO want,
but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"

~Mark Twain

Marigold said...

Dear BuffyBelle,
The Goatfather hangs around upstairs because that is where the computers are and he would become ill if he were away from them too long. I might believe the stairs theory except that this phenomenon has been going on for such a long time - pre-point-pinching. No, I think it is the whole SLIders thing. However, you are right that the hand-cranked versions of all these appliances might be just the ticket. Still, have you seen a hand-cranked version of the computer? That could be a problem.

Marigold said...

Dear Faith,
Likely the Goatfather could help, but he doesn't swim very well and flying is so expensive. :) He says you need a little volt meter. Then you stick the little probe-thingies (Oy. I've been around the Goatmother too long) on each end and it registers whether the battery is good or not. As for the Chicken pencil sharpener... I am envisioning this and I can only seem to envision it one way. I am glad it is not a goat. No wonder the chicken pencil sharpener doesn't work. Maybe it is constipated?

Marigold said...

Dear Auntie,
Ah, you are similarly afflicted. Well, perhaps there is some sort of support group or 12 step program out there for you and the Goatmother and other SLIders. In the meantime, I suppose there are all those crank things that BuffyBelle mentioned.

Millie said...

My human has the exact same problems! It must be a goat human thing.

Marigold said...

Dear Millie,
Who knew? I had no idea there were more of these unfortunate souls. Misery loves company? :)

Buffybelle said...

There are plenty of videos on Youtube to make a bicycle powered system to run the computer and TV, then Goatmother could start counting calories burned per watt hour to compliment the points that are counted. Kill two birds with one stone.

Buffybelle said...

Really, all of this could probably be solved by giving your electric pencil sharpener an emema.

Marigold said...

Good Goat!, BuffyBelle,
The Goatmother is in a panic - afraid that the Goatfather will see your comment!

Marigold said...

Dear BuffyBelle,
No, no. That would be Faith's chicken.

Mrs. Micawber said...

Dear me, I thought for a moment you - er, I mean the Goatmother - had been hiding out behind the curtains at our house. Exactly the same thing happens here, especially with the Netbook. I swear if I just wave my hand over it the screen size changes, or things disappear, or the browser shuts down. Of course it never does that for Mr. M. He also has the magic touch for all kinds of things that are malfunctioning for me.

Could it somehow be linked to pheromones? Do women have the wrong chemistry or something?

Speaking of pencil sharpeners, Mr. M just proudly brought home an old-fashioned, all metal, wall- or desk-mountable hand-crank version. It's wonderful.

I'd sure like to see Faith's "battery chicken". Great pun. And I will have to check out the bicycle-powered computer idea.

Marigold said...

Dear Mrs. Micawber,
It is a mystery, isn't it? Perhaps we should submit some proposal for them to do a study. I'm sure the government could afford it, after all, have you seen some of the studies they fund? I think this is much more practical and important.

Please do not go and check out the computer running on bicycle power. If Mr. M spends as much time on the computer as the Goatfather, you will weigh only 80 pounds soon from all that peddling. Hmmm... come to think of it, perhaps we should tell the Snowcatcher about this. What do you think?

Claire the Shepherdess said...

Fie on that pencil sharpener and its sneaky, uncharitable ways. Here, the goatgirl (that's me) uses a mechanical pencil for all things pencilly, notably sudoku and crosswords and such. Might I suggest an investment in a multi-pack of mechanical pencils in jolly colours that are begging to be used, along with a wee packet of leads. So satisfying...

Marigold said...

Dear Claire,
You're so smart. This is the perfect solution. The Goatmother could get a pack of spring colors not unlike her yarn stash from Penny!