Modern Technology

Today I had the fun adventure of getting new tires on my car. It seems that just about anything you do these days is an adventure. Because of modern technology, nothing is simple anymore. A few years ago when you needed tires, you went to your tire dealer, picked out some tires, and they put them on your car. Not any more. Because of modern technology, you know, the technology that’s supposed to improve things, make things easier and better? Because of that, getting new tires is not a simple process any longer.

I had the money to put on some really nice tires. $500 dollars for the four of them and an 80,000 mile warranty. Great! let’s do it! So I’m waiting for the shop guys to put them on and one guy comes to me and says, “I’m afraid I have some bad news.” It seems two of my tire’s valve stems were somehow pinched and they couldn’t reuse them. I had been losing air in those tires and this was the reason why. This is where modern technology plays a role. Inside each of your modern car tires, attached to the valve stem is a sensor that relays tire pressure information to your car’s dashboard computer. So you can look at the dash and see the air pressure in each tire. Great idea, right? So you don’t have to get your lazy ass out with a tire gauge and check the pressure any more. And for this modern convenience you have to pay anywhere from $50 to $75 dollars per sensor. And someone, somewhere behind a desk decided that this is a safety feature and so by law, you have to have them in your tires. And this means that my $500 dollar tires now cost $640 dollars.

Isn’t that great? I love technology! It makes everything better! Easier! I say this as I’m using my computer. Some technology is great. Like computers. And the internet. And some, like tire sensors, is just expensive and needless. And someone makes a law that says you have to have it. So you have to pay for it. It’s not bad enough that a set of tires costs $500 dollars! The sensors round it up nicely, don’t you think?

Somewhere along the way, someone decided that we work too hard. So people started inventing things to make life easier. Now some ideas are great. Like putting a water wheel in the river to turn your grist mill. Now you don’t have to use donkeys or horses or cows and feed them and take care of them to make flour. That was a great idea. Saves time and money. The television remote to change to one of 500 channels with nothing on them was questionable. Now your lazy ass can get lazier and you can be even more bored than you were before you turned the TV on. My dad had a saying. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” A lot of these things we’ve invented to make life simpler and easier are really just making things more complicated and expensive. I know how to use a tire gauge. I have one in my car. But since I have expensive tire sensors in my tires, I guess I really don’t need the gauge anymore. If I take it out of the car, maybe I can get better mileage because the car will be a couple ounces lighter. And instead of doing the math to figure out my mileage I can just look at my handy mileage counter on my dashboard computer. No more math for me! What a great idea.

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