Chickens are always optimistic and happy, my husband observed the other day. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it’s true.
They are thrilled when some new food source is thrown unceremoniously in their vicinity, but content enough to peck at whatever is there when nothing new is forthcoming. Sure, once in a while, they become indignant, like when they try to sit on eggs and their humans won’t let them, but they’re generally happy-go-lucky. Perhaps this is because their brains are so tiny.
People, on the other hand, are always mad about something. We’re mad about politics, the climate, the environment, the police, the roads. We’re mad at our significant others, our children, our friends. We’re mad at the grocery checkout person, other drivers on the road, our airplane seatmates.
In fact, we’re not just mad. We’re outraged.
Some of this outrage is justified; some isn’t.
I won’t specify which of the above-listed circumstances do and don’t justify outrage lest you be outraged at me. But I am going to put myself out there and say that I am outraged by the lack of outrage about the longevity of machines.
In a world in which outrage is as ordinary as cellphone ownership, why are we not outraged that appliances and tech equipment cost so much yet last such a relatively short amount of time?
Sure, we’re mad about it. We’re mad that stoves and washing machines probably won’t last more than 10 years. And we’re mad that our computers will have to be replaced just a few short years after we purchase them.
But where’s the outrage?
Shouldn’t we be outraged that in a society so technologically advanced, our dishwashers last half the number of years that the old ones did? Shouldn’t we be outraged that when we buy a computer printer, we expect that it won’t last more than five years tops?
Even if we’ve become complacent about the product longevity itself, shouldn’t we be thinking about the fact that because it costs so much to fix these things, we have to throw them away, filling up our landfills and affecting our environment? Where’s the outrage?
I recently had to replace my 12-year-old printer. My first — so far, only (cross your fingers for me, please) — problem occurred before I even used it. I was trying to install it when the screen told me that either I was missing an ink cartridge or an ink cartridge was damaged. I tried reinstalling the cartridges. I tried restarting the printer. There was a lot of screaming and crying — and it wasn’t coming from the printer. Two hours later (yes, really, that long), the printer finally tired of my tantrums, and the screen told me that I could print a test page. It’s working fine now, but does this really bode well for the future?
Fortunately, I had the foresight to buy an extended warranty for my dishwasher, which is only 2 years old but for which a service technician had to make a house call this week.
Granted, these machines are more high-tech than the ones they replaced, so more things can go wrong. On the other hand, we live in a more high-tech society, so shouldn’t the designers be able to create elements with more things that can go right?
Again, where’s the outrage?
Alas, we are like chickens with some new machine thrown unceremoniously in our direction, happy to peck, peck, peck all day.
As small as chicken brains are, though, I think that if they actually had to use dishwashers and printers, they would be outraged.
Readers may contact Sybrant at firstname.lastname@example.org or 45092 859th Road, Bassett, NE 68714.