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Down on the Farm -- Tied up in cords

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After spending a morning packing for a trip, I have discovered the biggest annoyance of modern life: Cords!

All of our precious gadgets require cords. Some require two!

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For this trip, I had to pack a cord for my laptop, another for my iPod, two for my camera, some earphones, and a cord for my cellphone.

The tangled bundle of cords in my bag looks like it could serve as a nest for a large predatory bird.

You get to the hotel room, and what is the toughest job? Not unpacking clothes. That's easy. Not figuring out the air conditioner. Not figuring out how to turn on the TV.

All those things are easy compared to the job of untangling the cord nest and finding an outlet to charge all the gadgets. Usually the cell phone ends up charging on the sink in the bathroom, just where it might get wet.

I am not eager to try it, but what if one of the charging gadgets fell in the bathtub? Would you get electrocuted with direct current or A/C? Does it make any difference?

Another hotel room hazard: Tripping over all the cords. Especially when the cell phone rings in the middle of the night and you have to work your way through a nest of cords to find the phone on the bathroom counter.

For every cord that is presently in use, I have 10 or more in the garage in a big bin, my cord bin, where I keep cords and adapters of gadgets long forgotten.

What a tangled nest! Black cords, beige cords, long cords, short cords, USB cords, fire wire cords, adapter cords, A/C cords, direct current cords, speaker cords, computer cords, camera cords, phone cords.

Why don't I just throw the cords? Well what if you sometime needed a cord? Wouldn't there be some chance that it would be in the bin?

No chance. No chance at all. I have tried it. I needed a cord to hook up a speaker. None of the cords worked. I had to order one for $29.95.

Needed a cord to charge a phone. Would any of the cords for the last three cell phones work? No chance. No chance at all. I tried all 43 cords in the cord bin.

You see, there is a conspiracy. Every year, the companies change cord endings. Nothing, I mean nothing, works for two different phones. No cord works in two different years. No cord works for two different computers.

If some entrepreneur wanted to make a billion dollars, the sure way to do it would be to figure out a unified cord system.

One cord for everything. One cord to charge the phone. One cord to hook up the iPod. One cord to charge the laptop.

The same cord could transfer pictures from the camera to the computer. It would also hook up to the printer. And it could power the blender. One cord for everything.

If a presidential candidate ran on a unified cord platform, he or she or it would have my vote. No contest.

Let the oil companies have their profits. Let the lobbyists get their perks. Let the Cayman Island-headquartered companies pay no tax. But force all companies to adhere to the unified cord system!

Look at all the openings on the side of your computer. Half a dozen holes, all with different shapes. Wouldn't it be a boon for our economy if you didn't have to dig for the right cords and try to match them to the right hole?

Before I went to kindergarten, we had to go in for screening where you match shaped blocks with the same-shaped hole. If you didn't get put the right shapes in the right hole, they put you in special ed right away.

My Mom saved me. She threw a fit. She said the test was humiliating and unnecessary for a kid as brilliant as me, and she refused to let them administer it.

Deep down, she knew I'd flunk.

Perhaps that is why I hate cords so badly. It is because I spend so much time trying to match the different endings with the right holes.

If they could figure out a unified cord system, it would make life easier for everybody--from preschool on up!

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