OPINION COLUMNS

Computers, the interview and the sick cow

By Gerre Joiner | Published Saturday, June 21, 2014

I was way back in the worship center at First Baptist Church during the opening assembly for Sports Camp. We called it “Vacation Bible School” 100 years ago.

Gerre Joiner

Gerre Joiner

I took a picture of the group of young people on the platform who were leading one of the songs. Then I posted it on Facebook.

I was still seated way back in the worship center five minutes later when a pastor friend in Paraguay clicked that he had seen and that he”liked” the picture.

I am old enough to remember when there were no computers. I’m young enough to know how to operate one of them. If someone were to have told me 25 years ago there would be a thing called “social media,” that it would make it possible for me and 2,733 of my closest friends to neighbor on a daily basis, and that one of them 4,700 miles away would respond within five minutes to one of my posts, I would have laughed.

Some of my friends would be happy if there were no computers or Facebook or Twitter. I recently read an article by Kenny Barmarshi in which he muses about a world without computers.

  • Without the Internet and computers, research for cures and treatment of many diseases would be drastically slowed.
  • Today’s telephone grid relies on the Internet and computers, making our conversations (landline calls and cellular calls) possible.
  • Embedded components in washing machines and microwaves make it possible for us to be well-fed (quickly!) and clean.
  • The most devoted homebodies in my coffee shop group would keep their bodies at home if they needed to fly to Houston and someone said, “OK, but we’re going to do the whole thing without using even one computer.”
  • Without computers, banks would still be doing the books with pencils, carbon paper and counter checks. Remember counter checks?
  • Without the Internet, we’d not have access to the world’s largest library. Imagine not being able to “Google” stuff.

Consider the words of some well-known people… well… well-known to some people… regarding computers:

  • “Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make easier to do don’t need to be done.” – Andy Rooney
  • “Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.” – Steve Wozniak
  • “A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick-boxing.” – Emo Phillips

Consider health care before it relied so much on computers. My friend, Truitt Hodges, was recently interviewing a potential doctor. He went to the clinic and was visiting with the candidate.

The candidate, Dr. X, asked, “Who has been your primary physician?” Truitt called the name of a longtime Decatur physician, Dr. Y.

Dr. X mentioned the small fact that Dr. Y had died about 10 years earlier.

Truitt said, “I know. I haven’t needed another doctor until now. I have a few things to mention before I agree for you to be my doctor. Here they are.”

  • When I come to your office and wait more than 15 minutes after the appointment time, I will leave. Don’t be late.
  • You don’t get but one opportunity to fix the problem. Make sure you know what you’re doing before you start working on me.
  • I won’t tolerate any undue treatment just for the sake of doing tests.

Dr. X seemed to understand. He treated Truitt, and they haven’t seen each other for a year-and-a-half.

Now, regarding animal health, Truitt thought that he could diagnose symptoms and administer treatment to one of his sick cows. After several days of faithfully administering the wrong medications and seeing a definite down-turn in the cow’s condition, Truitt took her to the vet.

After a brief examination of the cow, the vet said, “Now, tell me just exactly what were this cow’s symptoms before you started doctoring on her?”

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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