I Hate When That Happens

by Cynthia on June 17, 2019

Remember that scene in 2001 A Space Odyssey? Hal 9000, the computer—in an act of self-preservation—refuses to open the pod bay doors and let Dave return to the ship.
“I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
We trust technology just like Dave trusted Hal. But an electronic device can change your life in a micro-second if you don’t show it who’s boss.

It was a gorgeous morning, not a cloud in the sky. I got to the office, threw the curtains open, and started to work. I’d been there for about 10 minutes when the phone rang.
The man on the line said, “Look out your front window”
There were four policemen with their guns drawn.
“What’s happening?”
“Come out of the building slowly and keep your hands where we can see them at all times.”
“Okay. Why?”
“Come outside, Ma’am.”
“Were you the only one in the building?”
“We received a panic call from this location. Did you place that call?”
“Do you have an alarm?” 

Oh man. I must have pushed the panic button on accident.
I hate when that happens
Two officers searched the premises. I stood there, aching arms held out to my sides, wondering what they’d put in their reports. They’d probably call it operator error, but they’d be thinking, “What an idiot.”
I’m surprised the police didn’t remember me from a few years earlier when the kids gave me my first ipod. Do you realize how hard it is to hear an alarm going off when you’re listening to music through your earbuds.
Electronics! They just don’t fight fair.
How many of you have a GPS?

Does yours yell at you? Mine does and that’s humiliating when you have a car full of people.
I call my GPS Ammie. It’s short for American English. Ammie tells you three times that a turn is coming. She gives you every opportunity to do the right thing. So, if you miss the street or there’s construction she doesn’t know about, she gets a little ticked off. As a mother, I get that.
The first time I used Ammie, I missed the turn. “Recalculating.”
I corrected by going around the block. I turned right. “Recalculating.”
Turned again. “Recalculating.”
And again. “Recalculating”
When I was finally back on track and needed her advice, she refused. She claimed she’d lost satellite reception. Yeah right, you…you…you…Hal 9000.
I hate it when that happens.

When I got my first iphone, I felt so modern.   But my kids and grandkids had to teach me how to use it. Whenever my grandkids were around, my phone always disappeared. “What are you doing?” I’d ask. “Nothing.” (Giggle, giggle, giggle) One week, I was out of town for a class. I sat down for lunch at a table with 11 total strangers. When I pulled my phone out of my back pocket, I must have held the button down too long because all of the sudden, Siri said, “I’m sorry, Big old booty, I didn’t hear that.”

Wait. Big old what?

Everyone at that table stopped and stared.

“My grandkids think it’s funny to change my name in the phone.”

I was mortified. When I told the kids, they were embarrassed too. But did it stop them from pranking my phone? Right now, if you ask Siri who I am, she’ll say, “Your name is Cynthia, but because we’re friends I get to call you “You’re annoying.”
Hey, that’s better than Big old booty.
I could tell you about the demonic timer on my sprinkler system that almost killed my brand new lawn this summer, or the time I texted something very personal that somehow ended up on my brother-in-law’s phone. My brother in law thought it was hilarious. My sister? Not so much. And don’t even get me started on autocorrect. I’m already a little short on dignity—and time.

So, let me leave you with this. If it’s electronic, it has a power button–or a kill switch as I like to call it.
But don’t say that out loud. You never know who or what is listening.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beware of the young doctor, the old barber, and the computer you’ve said bad things about.”

You know how I know Ben Franklin said that?

I saw it on Facebook.

And computers never lie.

Just ask Hal 9000.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page


. . . and other dangerous things.

by Cynthia on June 12, 2019

Today, my stapler tried to kill me—twice.

It wasn’t just an ordinary stapler. This stapler was my friend, Red Swingline. And I had no idea she was pissed off—until it was too late.

I was trying to get billing ready, which requires Red’s assistance.
After all, it’s what I got her for.
Besides, if the billing doesn’t go out, no one knows what to pay, so they don’t pay anything, and none of us have a job.
So, all of us—the printer, the paper, the stapler, and me—work together to get the billing out.
You hear me, Red?

What I didn’t know, was that the person who does our purchasing had tried to save money on staples of all things.
And Red the stapler wasn’t happy about it.
The new staples were slippery and thinner than the staples Red was expecting.
Who knew?

By the time I opened the new box of staples, the old ones were gone. I had nothing to compare them to.
I slid the new row of staples in place, closed the top, positioned the paper, and pushed.
Nothing happened.
I pushed again.

Wait. What? No holes in the paper, no tiny metal line holding the pages together.
What the heck?
I tried one more time.
Nothing but an imprint where the staple should be.
She was refusing to use the new staples.

I opened the top and Red broke that row of staples into tiny groups of staples and spit them right in my face. It’s a good thing I had glasses on.

I said something that started with the letter F.
I think it was “Forget this!” or something like that.

About that time, Red slammed the top down right on my hand. I opened it. She slammed it again. And again. And again. Until I was forced to say “Forget this” again.

That’s when I thought of the supply cabinet. There, I found six more boxes of staples. The same cheap staples that Red was rejecting.

I opened a new box and tried a row. I mean, maybe the first box was bad.

But, guess what?
The same thing happened. Only this time, the staples exploded out of Red.

They flew at my face and all over the room.

Where was her love, her loyalty?

I threw the cheap staples in the supply cabinet and went online to look for another “Forgetting” stapler.

I put Red in a closet where no one will ever see her again, despite her brilliant fiery color.

I do not need a stapler in my life that lacks loyalty.

No one does!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page


Tossing the Chimes

February 11, 2019

I used to sing. Years ago. But when I decided to have kids, I willingly gave it up. I wanted to be home with my girls. But I missed it. So sometimes I’d get the kids settled down (nap time, color time, Sesame Street) and I would go into my room, close the door and […]

Read the full article →

Flipping Good

February 3, 2019

I was driving home tonight. It was already dark. I imagine the Super Bowl was still going on but, I’m not sure. I didn’t watch it. I had a writing project to work on. I turned a corner and caught movement in my peripheral. It was a boy, probably between five and seven. He was […]

Read the full article →

HAVE A !%$*&@! DAY

October 2, 2017

My gym schedules regular aquatic exercise classes. On those days, I have to get there at just the right time. I have to squeeze myself between the scheduled classes. Normally, that’s fine. Today, there was someone in each lane. Now, we’re required to share a lane if necessary, but it can be a tight squeeze. […]

Read the full article →

Radio Days

September 27, 2017

For the last few weeks, in addition to my regular schedule, I’ve had a side project. It’s been fun and a little like having multiple personalities. See, I’ve been playing the roles of three characters in the Radio Days series produced by Collaborative Theatre Project—CTP. At first I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do […]

Read the full article →


September 25, 2017

I learned to swim when I was still in single digits. My family lived in Florida. There was a lot of water around us. It was a safety issue. Mama never learned how to swim, so I took lessons. When the swimming instructor told me to hang on to the side of the pool and […]

Read the full article →

Taking Census

September 18, 2017

If you ever have a few minutes to kill, try digging around in the U.S. Census. It forces you to really think about what went before us, how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go. When I was writing Switch,* I needed to know how it would feel to search for […]

Read the full article →

A Change That Will Stick

July 27, 2017

This year, I’m having a really big birthday. Can you keep a secret? I’m gonna be older than I’ve been in my entire life. But this birthday’s got me, wondering: Have I made a difference? At home, I have this sign by my door that says, “You must be the change you wish to see […]

Read the full article →

Write on

November 2, 2015

The show I told you about in my last blog was a wonderful success. I got to know my character so well it took me about three weeks to completely shake her shadow. If you watch the show in the link provided, you will see that Darla Thompson’s depression didn’t creep in “on little cat […]

Read the full article →

Shaped by Experience

December 29, 2012

  Cynthia Rogan will perform her new play, Cat-a-tonic. Okay,  so the director made me take the photo up there as promo for Cat-a-tonic. I was a bit resistant. But . . . here it is, just the same.  And here’s some more about the entire show. We’re in for some fun nights and if […]

Read the full article →

Smiling in the face of fear

August 21, 2012

Raising my girls is the scariest, most wonderful thing I’ve ever done. Publishing Symphony of Dreams is probably second on the list. I must admit it’s neck and neck  with being part of a live improv show which I did last Saturday. However, in an improv show, you work with others in the crew and […]

Read the full article →

Too busy to breathe

July 31, 2012

Lately, I’ve been stuck. Somehow, I over-committed. It was out of love, as usual. Love of words, love of writing, love of friends. Between work, trying to market Symphony of Dreams, helping a friend with his manuscript, working on a solo-performance, and trying to get The Courier ready for publication, I lost “something.” First, my […]

Read the full article →

Marketing, Schmarketing

July 16, 2012

So I say to myself, “Now, Cynthia. How hard can it be to get a little attention for your book? I mean Symphony of Dreams is a great story. The people who’ve read it, love it. You love it. And we’ve all been in Symphony’s position at one time or another. So . . . […]

Read the full article →


June 23, 2012

One glance at my garden used to leave me gnashing my teeth. Weeds were everywhere. If one of my plants wasn’t doing well, it was usually sharing its little plot of the world with a healthy green squatter. From experience, I can assure you that no amount of cursing will kill a weed. I have […]

Read the full article →

Lies, Lies, Lies

April 11, 2012

Mr. Rogers died. Then came the story about how he was a Navy Seal and a sniper in Vietnam with 25 confirmed kills to his credit. And . . . the reason he always wore a sweater was to cover up his tattoos. I was shocked. I always saw him as a sort of bland […]

Read the full article →

We must believe

April 7, 2012

Marie Curie said: “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” So . . . that’s why I spend my spare time writing, editing and, […]

Read the full article →

Going places

October 31, 2011

Mama used to tell this story about how I came home from first grade in hysterics. The teacher said we were going to read the next day and I was horrified. How was I supposed to read? I didn’t know how. I insisted Mama teach me that very night so I’d be ready. She tried […]

Read the full article →

No pain, no gain?

October 27, 2011

Generally, I’m not the girly type. I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis. In fact, I’m sure I’ve gone years without mascara. I don’t own a pair of heels. I wear my hair goopless, shiny, and straight. I’m not opposed to showing a little cleavage now and then, but my breasts occurred naturally. They […]

Read the full article →

On this day, I write

October 26, 2011

Robert Dugoni opened the Surrey conference I just attended. “On this day, I write,” was the ending phrase of his speech. If you’d like to hear it, please click here. It is inspirational. Thanks to Robert Dugoni, I began the conference reminded of why I write. Thanks to Robert McCammon, and Robynn Sheahan, and Russell […]

Read the full article →