Look At It This Way - May 13, 2011

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I’m sure it’s me who is single-handedly keeping manufacturing industry alive by having to replace things all the time.

Our loft is stuffed to bursting with electrical and electronic goods that stopped working the day the guarantee ran out, and that can only be repaired if returned in all the original packing to an address in Halifax, and that’s Halifax, Nova Scotia, not Halifax, West Yorkshire.

There’s 30 years’ worth of radios, hi-fis, hair-dryers, computers, printers, tellies, Sky boxes, Freeview boxes, microwave ovens, deep-fat fryers, grills, CD and DVD players and electric toasters up there, and even a new kettle that would only boil water in one go if you bunged up its flappy little switch thing with Blu-Tack.

The latest machine to have snuffed it is another computer printer.

I can’t complain, because I’ve been using it every day for over six years, but I needed it urgently for some e-tickets, and warning of its imminent demise it gave me none.

‘Some internal parts of this printer have reached the end of their useful life. Please refer to original documentation on your installation disk. Can’t find it? Tough.’ it said, and went on strike.

It’s doubly frustrating because only last month I stocked up with enough ink cartridges to last another two years, and they don’t fit any machine in the current range.

I have a theory about why these machines conk in such a short time – it’s all those electrons whizzing around inside them.

Electrons leap around at the speed of light, you see, and there are hundreds, even thousands of them, so they’re bound to do a lot of damage in a confined space.

If that wretched Faraday bloke hadn’t invented electrons our tellies would run quite happily on gas and our computers on coal, and they’d last a heck of a lot longer.

My wife’s cousin married an Australian and went to live down under, and he won’t let her have the email, because he says we don’t need any more electrons flying about: there are quite enough already.

He is breeding carrier pigeons instead, because in Australia it is a very long way indeed from anywhere to anywhere else, and apparently the postal system is a bit unreliable because postpersons either get lost in the Outback when their SatNav battery runs out or savaged to death by mad kangaroos and cane toads.

But to get back to that load of junk in the loft....

My wife has giving up asking me why I bother to keep it, because she always gets the same reply – ‘well, they could come in handy one day. I might be able to use the bits.’

One day I might just get round to honouring that pledge...

* Look At It This Way has been written by guest columnist Geoff Adams, of Over Wyre, a regular contributor to Live Wire, as Jacqui Morley is on holiday.