Shingles Poster Child · 12 September 2020

I recently felt like I should be poster child for the shingles vaccination. One look at me and you would want to stand in line to get yours. But do not worry. It hurts much worse than it looks.

I never understood what the big thing about shingles was. I never gave it a second thought when I heard that I should get a shingles vaccination. Even after I saw the pain my mom went through when she had the shingles. I knew it was obviously not a fun virus to get, but I figured the same thing we all figure. It is not going to happen to me. Now I realize, it could definitely happen to me. Because it did.

Apparently, the shingles virus lays dormant in your body after you have had chicken pox. It is a nefarious little virus that nestles in your nerve cells just waiting for the right moment. I am not sure what that right moment is (a time of stress perhaps), but I am sure that it is exactly the right timing. Which means the most inopportune moment. The worst time of all. Bam! You have shingles.

Shingles is not at all like chicken pox. Well, maybe a little. There are those pesky little pocks (pox). But they are not all over your body like when you were a kid and had them. Or at least my pox from shingles were not all over my body like the chicken pox were all over my body when I was a kid.

Oh having chicken pox was great fun! All four of us kids got it at the same time. Or at least whoever got it first shared it with the rest of us. It was baking soda baths and calamine lotion every night for weeks. Or at least one week anyway. I think my parents had an assembly line system system. Throw all the kids in the tub. Wash one at a time with baking soda. (After letting them all splash around and release all their energy they had been saving through the day because they could not do anything but sit around the house getting in Mom’s way as she tried to do things as normally as possible.) Rinse the one, then hand him or her off to the other parent, while you fished for the next one. The other parent would then dry the already washed and rinsed kid, who would dash off as soon as he or she was patted dry (so that none of the pox were broken). But there was no time to grab the kid because a new one was rinsed and in the queue already.

When all the kids were dried and running around the house naked, our parents would have to round three of us up again (one was still in clutches of the parent who was drying). We surely came back ready for our treatment of calamine lotion. Oh that soothing calamine lotion. The pox did not itch right after the bath, but the calamine lotion still felt cool and soothing on our skin. Then, off again to air dry naked as jaybirds. Only to finally be corralled, then clothed in our pajamas.

Okay. It was probably not quite like that. But something similar. I know that my parents were partners in the washing and drying and calamining and dressing. At the very least, Dad was the enforcer. Or the catcher of wayward naked children. Mom was the washer and rinser. Ever soaked by the splashing of her little angels. Then again. They probably switched roles a few times during the days of pox.

Shingles is not like that at all. No running around naked after a bath of baking soda. No calamine lotion for the itch. That is because there is no itch. At least not for me. All there is is pain. And a little rash. The pox are minor with shingles. And it would not really matter if they were itchy. For all you can feel is the pain.

I had my shingles on my face. And when I thought I was done with the major pain, all I could think of was the old kid joke. Normally it goes like this:

“Does your face hurt you?”
“Well, it is killing me.”

If you try that same joke on somebody who has shingles on his or her face, you would be sorely disappointed.

“Does your face hurt you?”
“YES! It is excruciatingly painful! It is much worse than it looks!”
“Oh. Sorry. My bad.”
“You bet it is your bad! Now go get a shingles vaccination!”

Which is why I feel like the poster child for shingles vaccinations. Shingles do not hurt anybody but the one who has shingles. And boy do they hurt. I would not wish shingles on anybody. Not even as a joke. So go get your shingles vaccination. Just tell them that the shingles poster child sent you.

© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi

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If You Give a Man Tech Support · 5 September 2020

Beware if you give a man tech support.

Some of us are our own tech support. That just means that we can fix our own computer problems when they arise. Whether those problems are the computers themselves, the network they communicate on, or even peripherals that they use. We can and do fix most of those problems on our own. Mostly. But there are those who need tech support from others. If you are one of those who offer tech support in your family, beware. Especially, if you are just starting to do so.

Now, I say this a bit tongue in cheek. After all, I do not mind giving tech support to those in need. Family, friends, strangers on the street. Well, maybe not the strangers on the street. But I have given tech support to others. And I have gotten a fair amount myself. Which is why it is nice to have an Information Technology (IT) specialist on speed dial. One who even gives a family discount when I cannot do things myself or when I need a quick consultation. But sometimes, those who are technology savvy end up giving way more tech support than they bargained for.

A case in point. And a little adage (or two or three) as a warning.

A friend of mine was being thankful that his wife gave him such great tech support when he was working on a project way above his technical expertise. In the end, she lamented about it and wondered if it had all been worth it. When he told me this, I came up with an adage similar to the one about giving a person a fish. (If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.) If you are the one in your circle of family and friends who gives tech support, see if this little adage is true. (Especially, if you are a woman giving a man tech support. Better yet, a wife giving her husband tech support.)

If you give a man tech support for a day, you fix his immediate problem. If you teach a man how to do his own tech support, you are in for a lifetime of futility. You may as well just help him with his tech problems whenever they arise. For when you fix his simple tech problem, he sees that you are tech savvy and will continue to rely on your expertise. Much more so if he already knew that you know more than he does in that area. After all, even though men like to say they know it all, they like it even better when somebody else knows more, especially if said somebody will do something that they never wanted to do in the first place. You might call it the incompetency ploy. Why do it at all, if somebody else is willing to do it for you in the first place? But tech support is oh so much more. For when you try to teach a man tech support, his eyes glaze over and he asks you to use simple instead of technical terms. And he watches slack-jawed as you install software or connect cables. And when you try to teach him technical terms or say that the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone, he laughs and says he can never learn as much as you already know. He even laughs when you roll your eyes at his incompetence. Then you realize. When you try to teach a man to be his own tech support, you are trying to do something impossible. For if he wanted to learn how to be his own tech support, he would not have asked for your help in the first place. So when you give a man tech support for a day, just do what needs to be done and forget teaching him. He does not want to learn. He just wants you for your technical expertise.

My friend’s wife ended up walking away instead of teaching or helping him. (She has usually helped him in the past, so I kinda mixed the stories together.) So he went to another friend. After all, he was in way over his head. And when he related the story to me, my reply to his situation was much shorter. In fact, he was the one to suggest the thought of teaching a man to fish. I just thought I might embellish a bit more. And did so even more here.

After thinking beyond my friend’s situation, I thought a better comparison of teaching a man tech support might be teaching a man to swim.

If you teach a man to swim, you will probably save his life. For swimming is one of those recreational activities that has practical value. But if you want to teach a man tech support, do not just throw him in the deep end, for he may get eaten by piranhas. Or he may end up wrecking your computer. Very seldom will he learn how to swim or even float.

Then again, I think giving a man tech support can also be like giving a mouse a cookie.

When you give a man tech support, he will want you to fix more than the original problem. He will want you to clean out his inbox. And then, he will want more software installed. And a new peripheral attached. And after you clean out his inbox and get the software installed and the peripheral attached, he will want you to do his project for him. So when you give a man a cookie, just remember that he will want all the cookies in the cookie jar. And a beverage to help wash it all down.

I know it is all sounds so silly. After all, these analogies sound so cruel and wrong. Still, forewarned is forearmed. So beware when you give a man tech support. And forget teaching it (or IT) to him.

© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Digital Cobwebs · 29 August 2020

Sometimes I feel like my websites are dank and dark rooms full of digital cobwebs. Empty and unvisited.

If you have ever gone into an old house with a little used basement, you have probably gotten your face full of cobwebs as you tramp down the stairs. If not, you have probably seen it happen on some old movie. It is not a pleasant experience. But once you get past all those cobwebs, you realize that the room is dank and dark and musty and creepy. Even if the lights are on or it is broad daylight. Sometimes I feel like that is what my websites are like.

Actually, I never feel like that. I just thought it would be a good subject to write about. After all, I mentioned digital cobwebs in the pep talk I gave myself. So I figured I would describe what that might be like.

I do imagine that there are websites out there (and mine could actually be one) where people rarely if ever visit. (People tell me they read my stuff, but…) Those websites might be dank and dark and dusty if they were rooms instead of websites. And of course, those dusty and musty rooms would have cobwebs all over the place since nobody has been there for ages. Yes, those websites would have digital cobwebs all over the place.

But like rooms and other places that are not visited much, these websites with digital cobwebs might have some undiscovered treasures. Maybe they even have more treasures that a person could imagine. Probably not. After all, since it is a website, it just has words and pictures. (Even if those pictures are moving and have accompanying sound.) So while the website might have some real gems in it, it will not have any real gold.

Okay. So this whole digital cobwebs idea is not quite panning out like I thought it would. (Get it? Panning. Gold.) Which is okay. I suppose it is better than writing about poop. Or maybe not.

Well, I thought digital cobwebs might be a fun topic, but it turns out that nobody really wants to go to those websites with digital cobwebs. Unless they are pictures and have something to do with Halloween. Which is okay. My websites might have digital cobwebs because they are visited so seldom, but at least I got the cobwebs out of my head.

© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi

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