Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Becoming a technologically wise journalist

Wick's World


I have never claimed to be mechanically inclined. Often, it’s not that I can’t fix things or put them together, it’s just that I hate doing it. If it doesn’t work the first time, I tend to get immediately frustrated. My temper flares and my language denigrates into something south of eloquence.

Then the age of technology arrived sometime in the 1980s. I never even attempted to play a Nintendo. Thirty-some years later, I admit (brag) that I have never played a single computer game.

I felt the same about being technology-challenged as I did about my lack of mechanical skills. The difference was that I wouldn’t even turn on a computer.

Sometime near the end of the 20th century, the United States Postal Service introduced a POS (point of sale) machine. It was basically a cash register for post office use. I guess one could technically call the POS a computer but their use was basically limited directly to postal sales only.

Then 2004 arrived and my office received what could actually be called a real computer. By then I was working with blinders on. I wanted nothing to do with learning how to use a computer. All I could see in my future was an early retirement coming my way in 2005. By April Fool’s Day, my sentence would be served and I could once again become Wick Fisher, private citizen.

I stuck to my guns and my refusal to even turn on the computer did cause me some problems with management. I never opened a single email, which meant that I also never answered a single one. My philosophy as I served out those last few months went something like this: “What are you going to do, fire me?”

Knowing I had the upper hand, I walked off the job on a Thursday at 5 p.m. realizing the worst was over. The only other time I felt like an elephant had jumped off my back was the day I was discharged from the U.S. Army.

Now that I was "retired," I knew I had to go make some money to replace the huge shortage I was about to see in my monthly paycheck. Working with a local carpenter lasted a couple weeks. Selling ads for one of the local newspapers didn’t last much longer. I walked in to see Jerry Derungs at the Star-Gazette after I read his ad, “Freelance writer needed.” By the end of the first week I had written my first column ­— “The Postmaster’s Obituary.” The column was good but Jerry had a small problem with it.

“Wick, you have to send these in a computer form. No one here can read your handwriting.”

Thus began my life of technology. My first task was to ask my dear wife to show me the simple basics of typing out a column. I thought things went rather well that evening. I saw my wife off to her job the following morning, poured myself a cup of coffee, and began my new life as a professional, technologically wise journalist. Somehow, the computer screen looked different than it did last night when it was blue with cute little colored icons. After hitting virtually every button on the keyboard, I still had a black screen. Frustration was mounting, my temper was rising and my language rapidly deteriorating.

Finally, out of sheer desperation, I called my wife at her office. “Karen, I can’t get this #%* thing to work.”

After 10 minutes of, “Did you do this? Did you try that?” I could hear her fellow office workers chuckling in the background.

She finally asked me the correct question, “Did you turn it on?”

“On?” I questioned. “You have to turn it on?”


Reader Comments

Wiggy writes:

Now that was one funny piece Wick.


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