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  August 8, 1998



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Technology's a nightmare
By BRET "THE HIT MAN" HART -- For the Calgary Sun

  "Be regular and orderly in your daily life so you can be violent and original in your work" -- Flaubert
 Technology is good. It saves lives. Saves time. Saves paper. Through technology, you can watch me wrestle live, in distant places, right from the comfort of your living-room.
 Technology makes voices clearer on the phone and if I'm not home, you can wait for that beep and talk to a machine. Or call my cell phone and hope I'm in range. Or call my beeper and punch in the numbers. But through all this, did we actually talk?
 Punch in the numbers. "If you know the name of the person you are trying to reach, press one. Thank you for choosing option one. Please input the first five letters of the name of the person you are trying to reach."
 Someone should tell the people who make these machines that in many parts of the world, there are no letters on the phone. How would they like to be standing at a pay phone in Berlin or Dubai trying to figure out what letters go with the numbers on the dial.
 Dial? Is there a new word for phone dial? What about "record store"? Is there some new globally accepted term for a place we go to buy music? Try asking a teenager where the nearest record store is. He'll look at you like you just got off the boat.
 My stereo has remote control. I would prefer clear reception. I want to listen to the stations that the scan button doesn't like. I really didn't mind turning the little knob and tuning them in by hand. It gave me a feeling of precision and control.
 CDs are supposed to be an improvement over records because they last forever and you can play the tracks in whatever order you want. It's nice that you can put 100 CDs in a fancy CD changer, but isn't' that just a home version of a jukebox? If you scratch a CD, it skips and repeats worse than a record. Just before CDs were invented , record players came out that will sort the songs around and play them however you want. So what's the point? Maybe to sell us an expensive, newfangled gadget that we would all get used to. And just when we're all comfortable enough that the new becomes the ordinary, they'll come up with another gadget that will make the slots in our cassette/CD cases obsolete again.
 Let's lament the loss of album covers as an art form, mystical mantras in the liner notes and secret messages whispered backwards. Before music videos, you listened to the words and imagined what the song was about. I liked that better than some director force-feeding me the mass-marketed video version of what the song means to him. My friend expresses it this way, "a picture is worth a thousand words, but a song is worth a thousand pictures."
 How come I can listen to a thousand songs in a row on CD but I have to get up every time I want to change a videotape? Can someone please invent a videotape changer.
 This whole thing started because of my computer. To all of you people out there whose kids know more about the computer than you do, you're not alone! I just never had a chance to learn it. I've befriended some computer geeks and, in listening to them talk, I've come to this conclusion: I haven't missed a thing. It seems like every couple of years, something new comes along and they have to sell their "old" stuff to keep up. So by starting now, I've saved 20 years of ... err ... "upgrading" and can just start on top, right?
 Until last night, I was pumped up to write you a wrestling column but the computer just sat there flashing a question mark. And when I didn't know the answer to this cosmic question, it frowned at me. It's scary, I actually felt bad at disappointing the machine.
 For those times when everything flashes 12, nothing pushes my reset button better than scoring a solid 1-2-3 in the ring. That's exactly what's going to happen to Lex Luger when I give him a shot at the United States Heavyweight Title this Thursday on Thunder. Luger is the head recruiter for the Red & Black and I don't mind divulging that he's been putting a lot of effort into trying to lure me in. Who knows, if he beats me, I might be impressed enough to listen to his offer. Everyone in WCW is saying that they don't know what I'm going to do next. That's exactly the way I want it. The only thing predictable about The Hitman is that I'm totally unpredictable. I know what my goals are but this time I've decided to take the scenic route to get there. It's more fun that way.
 The pride of that poor little pink battery bunny is that he keeps on going and going ... but where's he headed? When we're racing to keep up with our inventions, it's time to take the batteries out. Restore balance. Define an individual pace. If we stay in the fast lane too long, the computers won't be the only thing crashing.
 "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've created." -- a precognitive warning from Darth Vader.

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