Roger Dudek

If any of my loyal readers felt a cold draft when opening this morning's paper, it's because hell just froze over. That's right! Ol' Roger "No thanks, I'll stick with my 8-Track" Dudek bought a brand-spanking-new laptop. Now I know what you're thinking, "Ha ha! You, Rog? With a laptop? That would be the biggest disaster since the Titanic let the blind guy steer!"

You're telling me. Used to be the only way you could get me near a "desktop" was if the Soviets were attacking and I needed a place to hide. But last week my editor, Tony, said my handwriting looks like chicken scratch. He gave me two choices: get a computer or start laying some eggs! Boy, I sure did something to "ruffle his feathers," because then he threatened to "stuff" me with a pink slip and send me "clucking" down to the unemployment office. Talk about getting "henpecked." Sheesh! So I flew on down to the computer store— before things got really "fowl."


But seriously, folks, I didn't get into the humor-writing biz to spend all day staring at a computer screen. If I wanted to work in a place full of big, immobile machines that never do what anyone tells them, I'd run for Congress!

Have you seen these computers lately? They say computers have the ability to connect people from all over the world. Yeah…so they can talk about how no one knows how to turn the darn thing on! (Hint: Have a child, wait eight years, and pay him to do it.) And another thing—who packs these computer boxes, Rosie O'Donnell's tailor? Every one of these gizmos comes with a keyboard, monitor, software, hardware, a mouse—and probably two squirrels and a raccoon for all I know! I stopped taking things out of the box after I thought I saw Jimmy Hoffa. I'm kidding of course.

It was Elvis.

Plus the manuals that come with today's computers are, as far as I can tell, written in hieroglyphics! And is it just me, or are these things the size of a whale? We're talking after it went off Atkins! Computer manual? Sounds like an oxymoron to me. Like jumbo shrimp, or military intelligence. Maybe I should just pay a little more and get a computer automatic. I'm telling you, they're so complicated these days, I need a manual just to figure out my manual!


Check, please!

Maybe I'm just too old—er, numerically challenged—to keep up with the new technology. My kids might as well be speaking to me in Wingdings when they start going on about Facebook this and Myspace that.  Myspace. You know what used to be My space? The den. Now my kids are in there all day texting the Backstreet Boys or whatever they do, and I can't get on the thing to save my life.

If the computer wasn't enough, now I'm hearing about the iPhone everywhere I go. iPhones, youPhones, we all scream because it costs a fortune! If I'm going to pay $300 for a telephone, it better be a really nice phone…strapped to $275. But try telling that to my wife, Rosemary. And while you're at it, tell her I fixed the dryer—because she's not talking to me until I get her an iPhone! I tell you, it hasn't been this quiet around my house since our last baby was born with no heartbeat.


And don't get me started on iPods! Those screens are so tiny that instead of headphones they should come with a microscope. Otherwise the only music I'll be listening to will be in the hospital waiting room—when I finally burst a blood vessel from all the squinting.

In fact, everyone's so busy trying to figure out how to work these new gadgets, we only have time now to call things by a couple letters. CDs, DVDs, DVRs, MP3s…let's call the whole thing off! What ever happened to naming things exactly what they did? Blender, toaster, salad shooter. Why can't things be like that again? Just imagine what that would be like:

You (just thawed out of a glacier and transported to your local RadioShack): Hello, Steve Jobs. What do you have for me today?


Steve Jobs: Well, we're selling our new $600 iBreak and our new $200 You Don't Need This.

You: I'll take both of them! You know, Steve, if you make these Apple products any cheaper, people are going to start thinking they grow on trees.

Steve Jobs: Ha ha ha ha ha ha! That was really funny, because apples grow on trees.


So call me a technophobe (that's Mr. Technophobe to you), but I think I'll stick to good old Pen and Paper 2.0 for a while longer. I mean, if I wanted a big machine in my house that doesn't work for me, I'd invite a Congressman to dinner! It might have been a laptop when it came into the house, but lately it's been more like a shelftop.

More like a bottomshelftop!

All I know is, I didn't pass up a chance to write for Billy Crystal at the '92 Oscars so that I could go clacking away on some keyboard until the day I die—which, according to Rosemary, will be the next time I forget our anniversary!


Roger Dudek lives in West Virginia with his wife, Rosemary, and his twin daughters. He is a professional, syndicated humor columnist who has been writing professionally for more than 20 years. His column, Write On The Funny!, has been published intermittently in dozens of newspapers since it began in 1992. His comedic book of humorous essays, Memoirs Of A Guy-sha, is still looking for a publisher.