I don’t know why I’m surprised anymore. The moment something appears to be well in hand and headed for certain success, a butterfly flaps it’s wings in Tokyo and a shit sandwich is served in Aberdeen.
This isn’t my first rodeo. In fact that is the 5th iteration of this exact rodeo. It’s also a close approximation of other similar rodeos from years in the past. The only theme across them, however, is that at just the moment opening a successful registration website appears on the cusp of happening, something will go horrifyingly wrong.
At least it’s always something new and different that screws the pooch. I’d hate to think with all these years of experience that I’d waste time making the same mistakes. Especially when there’s all the opportunity in the world to make new and far more interesting ones.
I know I’ve always been my own harshest critic. I’m also well aware that sometimes my standards can, at first gloss, seem unreasonable. Still, just one time, I’d like to open one little registration without everything turning into a magnificent shitshow requiring me to explain to the gods on Olympus just how it slide of the rails this time.
1. Breaking my word. I swore a strong oath many years ago when paywalls erupted across internet news sites. It would be a cold day in Hell before I started paying for something that was available for free. I could get along just fine with Drudge and Google News and the devil could have the rest. Of course it helped that the Washington Post, political rag though it may be, remained free to those punching in from a government IP address. After years of getting by, though, I’m going to admit here before God, the internet, and everyone that I’ve gone back on my word and conceded that based on my evolving news consumption habits a subscription was inevitable and probably past due. So, now that I’m an oathbreaker anyway, at least I’m free to enjoy the full Sunday edition of The Times of London without running into their ridiculous 2 article a week limit. In retrospect £5.00 a month doesn’t feel completely usurious even if does still feel just a little bit wrong. And so my transition to a curmudgeonly old Englishman continues apace.
2. Logistics. It turns out one of the big logistics companies (I’m looking at you here UPS) is currently having a challenging time differentiating between 03 and 13 and delivering what seems to be half of what my neighbor is ordering for Christmas to my front door. I’m friendly enough with my neighbors that I make sure theirs ends up in the right place, but it feels like something the average person really shouldn’t need to do if they’re paying for shipping to their home versus paying to have something shipped vaguely into their neighborhood. The internet is full of apologists urging everyone to remember that this is a very busy time of year for shippers and that “hey, mistakes happen.” I’m sure they do, but the same one should rarely happen more than once. Of course I’m a simple old subject matter expert in distribution logistics, supply, and transportation so what the hell could I possibly know on the subject anyway.
3. Things are worse now. The talking heads of the media and the man on the street both seem equally willing to jump into a discussion that “<insert any topic here> is worse now that its ever been before.” It may be true of an individual issue or two, but overall I just find that the sentiment shows an overall lack of academic rigor and a woeful knowledge of basic history. The Civil War, the Spanish Flu of 1918, pretty much the entire decade of the 1970s, an global total war from 1939-1945, and Members of Congress physically fighting each other on the House floor are all things that happened in the not particularly distant past. Today, what “things are worse now,” mostly seems to focus on the fact that someone may have said something mean to somebody else. In the great sweep of human history asserting now that we’re living now in the worst of all possible times makes you sound like an idiot.
I consider myself lucky to rarely be afflicted with the trouble some people seem to have when it comes to making decisions. I might not always make the “right” decision, but I’ll make one on the fly if for no other reason than even a wrong decision feels more productive than dithering back and forth about what to do. I’m a great many things (some of them even good), but a ditherer I am not.
Under normal circumstances, I don’t see that as a weakness, but the problem comes when I find myself in a position of having too many moving parts demanding attention at once. That leads me to making reactionary decisions about everything. Jumping from one issue to the next with no real rhyme or reason behind it is not exactly the recipe for great decision making. It is, however, the recipe for making a metric shitload of otherwise easily avoidable mistakes. Easily avoidable mistakes make me sad.
I’m not asking for an endless buffet of free time, but a few minutes now and then to evaluate, plan, and analyze would go a long way towards letting me churn out a product that’s not halfway embarrassing. Absent the time to do the required leg work, I’d advise everyone to go ahead and get ready for a lot of checking off whatever box needs checked without giving any actual thought to how any of it relates to the bigger picture. Look, I’m fine playing it that way, as long as we’re all willing to concede that running half blind from reaction to reaction is a piss poor way of getting anything done. Really, I just want to make sure I’m on the record as having said that here in print.