Mark Hartley, Editor
Computer etiquette is an example of a shortage. This is not a reference to raunchy behavior online, where screen names derived from "stud" practice "chatting" crude and dirty. I`m talking about the machine itself. Its error messages imply a certain lack of etiquette on your part - the user is never right, computers seem to claim insistently. Just once, I`d like for the thing to say, "Listen, it hasn`t been a good day. My bowels are all backed up. I`m flipping these little pop-up screens at you like they`re a deck of cards. There`s nothing you did. I`m just being contrary. Just turn me off now. Give me a little time and space to sort through my moods. When you boot me back up, I promise not to offend you with any error messages." Wouldn`t that be sweet?
Another shortage is Sela Ward movies and TV shows. Since we also have a shortage of television programming suitable for younger minds, I need to point out that, as far as I know, the ex-Sisters actress has never been in an unflattering role, nor do I suggest she ought to be. We`re not debating Pamela Anderson`s nudity. We just need to get Sela on, say, PBS explaining how spindles work while wearing a Pilgrim`s outfit. We also have a shortage of saying, "spindle," in everyday language. When a child walks by and we`re sitting in an armchair, we lazily say, "Kid, hand me the remote for the VCR." It used to be said, quite frequently in similar situations, "Kid, move the spindle over by the fireplace." Anyway, men need to resolve the shortage of Sela in their lives, and PBS may be the answer.
A shortage of Super Bowl trophies for the Dallas Cowboys also exists. Five in 30 years is too dadgum inadequate.
It`s hard for me to speak as an expert about shortages. The only "real" shortage I`ve experienced in 40-plus years was the brief flicker of relative solitude on the roadways during the Seventies. Someone had decided we didn`t have enough gasoline.
From recent news reports, it appears that we`ll experience a shortage of antibiotics during the next 40 years. Oh, they`ll still be around, apparently, sold as candy at convenience stores. A customer`s choice for fighting infections will be between Baby Ruth and penicillin. Since taste will be the only medicinal value, the choice will be easy for me - give me the chocolate! Who would have thought we`d have a shortage of effective drugs, simply because we pumped ourselves full of them to begin with? Society`s future pariahs will be hypochondriacs who downed a pill upon experiencing the slightest discomfort. Plenty of our friends and relatives unnecessarily serve as laboratories for wily bacteria, which develop immunities to render antibiotics worthless.
But that`s a guess about the future. One more thing we can add about current shortages, here in 1997, is: There is not a shortage of fools who think there is a shortage of dental hygienists.