Thursday, September 13, 2012

An Exercise in Futility: Boys versus Girls

“Gosh darn it all to heck!” I slammed my hand down on the desk.

“What is it you’re darning all to heck, dearest?” Chris tried to hide a smile, but didn’t quite succeed. We’ve been married for 29 years, and I know him pretty well.

“I’m trying to apply for this job and the website keeps refusing to save my input and I keep having to start from the beginning. It’s frustrating, darn it all!”

“…to heck. Yeah, I heard that part. Do you want help?”

“I guess. I don’t understand why this darn computer won’t do what I want it to do. Look, when I click here, it lets me enter my data. Then I click here to save, and the program sends me back to the login screen. It happens every darn time!”

“How many times have you tried doing that?” Chris asked, frowning at me.

“Well, I don’t know. A dozen maybe?”

“I see. I’m going to tell you a little story, OK?”


“Just listen. There was recently a study done to see if boys and girls react differently to just this kind of situation. Boy and girl babies were placed in front of monitors and taught that if they pull a rope, the screen would show colorful pictures. Pulling on the rope changed the picture. Got it?”

“Yes,” I answered with a sigh. There was no point trying to hurry him. He’d get to the point sooner or later.

“Then the researchers changed the test. Now when the babies pulled the rope, the pictures would change for a time or two, and then the rope would stop working. It turns out that boy babies would pull the rope once or twice more, figure out that the toy had stopped working, and look around for something else to do. Girl babies, on the other hand, would continue to pull the rope even though nothing ever happened when they did. They would get frustrated and start to cry.”

“What exactly are you trying to say, Christopher?” I narrowed my eyes and glared at him.

“Just pointing out that you’re a girl, darling wife. If it doesn’t work – ever – why would you continue to try?”

“I don’t like you very much right now,” I warned him.

“How about if I solve your problem? What browser are you using?”

“Google Chrome.”

“I see. Maybe this website doesn’t support Chrome. Try switching to Internet Explorer.”

I sighed heavily, closed Chrome, opened Explorer, and easily completed the job application in just a few minutes. “Gosh darn it all to heck!” I mumbled as I turned off the computer.

“Did that work?” Chris called from the living room.

“Did that work?” I parroted, albeit under my breath. “Um…yeah,” I answered.

“No need to thank me,” he laughed.

I rolled my eyes. “Fine, then. I won’t.”