Help for the technologically impaired

September 26, 2006|By David Martin

OTTAWA, Canada -- You're not exactly a Luddite, but you're far from being a technophile. You realize high-tech is here to stay, and that you have to adjust. But it doesn't mean you have to accept it.

Truth be known, you'd rather stick with early 20th-century technology. All you really want and need are the visible signs of technical literacy - not the actual knowledge. That's why the following products may be just right for you.

The PVC. Everyone's expected to have a personal computer today. You can't afford to have people think you're a techno-peasant. But rather than spend $2,000 on a PC you'll rarely use, save yourself a bundle with a brand-new PVC, or "Potemkin Village computer." For one low price of $169, you'll get an empty CPU case, monitor and printer together with a nonfunctioning keyboard and mouse. When folks drop by, they'll see your state-of-the-art computer and assume you're a savvy, plugged-in type. They don't have to know that you can barely spell computer, much less operate one. Comes in your choice of designer colors to suit any decor.

Shell phone. Without a cell phone, your social status will plummet. But with one, your blood pressure will skyrocket as you try to figure out how to program it, use it and disable the beeper. Solution? Get a shell phone. It has all the external features of a cell phone without all of those costly and complicated internal electronics. Go wireless and still remain clueless.

Free-mail address. The Internet has become such an integral part of everyday life that people now often ask for your e-mail address rather than your phone number. To avoid looking unhip and old-fashioned, we've developed a simple, phony e-mail address generator to give you the appearance of connectedness. Just give us your name and $10 and we'll supply 20 different fake e-mail addresses to use. When people say your address doesn't work, just give them another one until they stop asking.

Faux fax machine. The last thing you want is a fax machine. But everybody seems to have one. So just put "u" in the fax and buy yourself a "faux machine." For the low price of $19.99, you'll appear to be ready for facsimile transmission action. Comes with keypad and simulated dialing, busy and transmission signals. (For $20 more, we'll throw in a working phone.)

VCR converter. It's bad enough that you've got an unused VCR machine collecting dust and flashing 12:00 all day. Now you're expected to fork out another hundred bucks or more for a DVD player you'll never use. Save yourself the hassle and the cash. Bring in your old VCR and, for $29.99, we'll do the necessary exterior adjustments to make it look like a DVD player. Then, when people ask you where your old VCR is, you can note casually that you traded it in because, after all, who needs one of those dinosaurs when all you can rent or buy now are DVDs?

David Martin is an Ottawa humor writer. His blog can be found at

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