Monday, September 9, 2013

The Curse of Competence

Into every family's generation there is born a geek with the smarts and the know-how to fix most broken and/or malfunctioning technology. These poor schmucks possess with a knack for repairing what baffles the rest of computer-illiterate humanity. Scott Adams calls this condition The Curse of Competence. The rest of us call them easy marks.

Mr. Snark is cursed with competence.

A Girl's Gotta Have Standards

The first time Mrs. Snark decided to marry, she chose a man with enough computer savvy to maintain a home network and repair the (then) endless number of issues associated with Microsoft products. The first Mr. Snark was a software engineer with a secondary specialization in electrical systems. (But he sucked at plumbing.)

Time passed. Stuff happened. Mr. Snark became the ex-Mr. Snark.

In 2007, Mrs. Snark decided to resume dating. She met the future-Mr. Snark as a barbeque hosted by the ex-Mr. Snark. Future-Mr. Snark and Ex-Mr. Snark worked together.

From the way future-Mr. Snark's eyes lit up like those of a horny ferret, Mrs. Snark knew him to be a man on the make, so she  promptly gave him the wrong phone number. He proved his ability to overcome obstacles by Googling Mrs. Snark's Amazon account and sending her an email.

Mrs. Snark called her ex- for references: "Who is this John fellow?"
Ex-husband: "John is a great guy!"
Mrs. Snark: "Yes, yes, but is he competent?"

The ex-husband provided a glowing recommendation, but of course, failed to mention that John was his supervisor, which led to some awkwardness later.

Grandma and Grandpa Snark approved of Mr. Snark.
Grandpa Snark: "He's oddly articulate for an engineer."
Grandma Snark: "Yes, but is he competent?"

A year later, Mr. and Mrs. Snark married. And Mrs. Snark gained the ability to claim (truthfully): "I only marry software engineers." 

Of course, there were tradeoffs. The new Mr. Snark model is even more highly competent than the ex. And far more verbally adept. However, Mr. Snark sets electrical fires whenever he comes within ten feet of wiring. And some things have not changed. (He sucks at plumbing.)

Mothers Are Not Cursed With Competence

It may be a coincidence, but Mrs. Snark has yet to meet anyone over the age of fifteen who has said: "My mother is a technological whiz. Whenever I have a problem, I call mom for help. She can fix anything."

Nothing reduces Mr. Snark to tears faster than a phone conversation with his mother. Periodically, she calls him for various computer related woes. While Mr. Snark's mother relates her issue, Mr. Snark grits his teeth. A vein throbs in his temple and his blood pressure shoots through the roof. But he listens patiently and diagnoses her issues with  exemplary patience.

Mr. Snark's Mother: "My computer won't turn on."

An exhaustive diagnostic ensued. Power buttons were depressed repeatedly. Power cords evaluated for connection with the electrical socket. Eventually, the evaluation revealed the power strip button was set to the off-position.

Solution: Flip the switch.
Problem: Solved. Ticket closed.

Mrs. Snark's mother isn't better. If anything, Grandma Snark is worse. Thirty years after the date AOL was founded, she still doesn't have an email address.

Of course, one has to wonder how it is mothers seem to grow increasingly incompetent as time passes. Well, Mrs. Snark has been a mother for fourteen years now, and she thinks she's figured out the answer--it is feigned. In some cases, it is a ploy to discourage older children from moving back home and in others it is a way of ensuring you're not bothered.

The oldest Snark boy only pokes his head out of his cave when the wireless network goes down, thus cutting off his access to the internet.

He clanks out of his room and makes a beeline for the office. "Mom! The internet is down!"

"Sorry," Mrs. Snark says. "I'm sure they'll have it back up by tomorrow."

The Boy looks at his mother with disdain. "You need to reset the router."

"Sorry, dear. I don't know how to do that. You'll have to wait until Mr. Snark comes home."


I'm guest blogging today for the first day of my Hunger Moon book tour over on Literal Hotties Naughty Books Reviews.

Please drop by to read another awesome post by ME!

I'm hosting a giveaway for the following prizes:
(Paperbacks are limited to continental United States delivery)
  • 2 signed paperback copies of Hunger Moon
  • 2 $5 Amazon Gift Cards

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Giveaway #2:
  • (2) $25 Amazon Gift Cards
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  1. Love your humor! Thanks for getting me smiling this Monday afternoon.

    1. Thanks, Ashantay! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

  2. This is great. Awesome work.

  3. I've worked at IBM for over 25 years...but in a non-technical role. When our home computer goes down or my work laptop has issues, I call The Husband!!

    1. Charlotte,
      My response usually depends on the severity of the problem. I can handle the simple things--restarting, running a virus check. I let Mr. Snark do all the heavy lifting when it comes to network issues. :)

  4. I was rolling with laughter. Great post!

  5. Fun post and how true about when the internet goes out, teens especially, come out of their self-imposed caves.

    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

    1. Jess,
      Absolutely. My teenage son wouldn't leave his cave if he didn't have to go to school.

  6. Love it! LOL My parents always come to me to fix anything electronic. Im barely tech savy myself so its amusing.

    1. Amber,
      I'm also vaguely competent at some things but not others. I prefer to play stupid and refer the kids to the hubby even when I *can* fix something. *G* Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Love the cover of book looks awesome and very interesting.