"Do-It-Yourself" World

I distrust most any machine that requires swiping a card, especially when my bank account is somehow involved.

So there I stood at the "12 Items or Less" line at the local supermarket with three measly items in my hands. I swear the customer at the counter was sneaking 14 or 15 items in, but I wasn't about to cause a fuss over it. After all, it had been a long, cold day on the mail route and I was beat ... too beat to argue over two or three extra items.

The line was long and moving slowly and I was hungry so I starting thinking about a quick fix. I scanned the candy selection ... hmmm ... Milky Way? Snickers? Three Musketeers? What, no Chunky bars?! It was a tough choice. As my mind raced over the options a very nice employee with a name badge that read either "Bob" or "Bill" or "Biff" approached me, asking if I would like to avoid the long line by using the Self Checkout. I hesitated for a moment, looking over toward where the employee was pointing, and then quickly shook my head "No." The employee next asked an elderly woman ahead of me, who was more vocal, saying, "Don't you know those Self Checkouts are eventually going to take away your job!" No takers, so the employee just smiled and walked away to locate another victim. The old woman grunted and shook her head in disgust. I went back to thinking about candy. Three Musketeers, yes definitely Three Musketeers.

I have to admit those Self Checkout lines scare me. I just don't trust them. Or perhaps, I don't trust myself using one. I'm afraid I'll attempt to buy a gallon of milk and somehow manage to completely empty my checking account of all funds by pushing the wrong button. Also, I don't like how the machine announces to everyone in the store each item that you're purchasing. Buying toilet paper is embarrassing enough without putting it over the public address system!

Self Checkout, whether at the supermarket or at the mega hardware store (where you can scan your own 2x4's, sheetrock, and joint compound - oh joy!) is the latest trend in the whole "do-it-yourself" world of the 21st century. Sure, we've been pumping our own gasoline for decades. In fact, so accustomed have we become to pumping our own gas that when we drive up to a station with an attendant on duty we scarcely know the proper etiquette. I was at such a station in Quincy a couple of weeks ago and wondered if I should be tipping the attendant. I didn't. (Was that the right thing to do?)

Some libraries are now offering Self Checkout. I saw one in action out in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Of course, there was an armed guard standing nearby with a license to kill. Hey, library lending is serious business -- especially out in the Midwest.

All this "do-it-yourself" business got me thinking what might be next. Today we pump our own gas, bank at ATM machines, pay our bills online, check out our own purchases, and soon, check out our library books. What's in store for tomorrow? Hmmmm .....

"Do-It-Yourself" Surgery - Why go to the hospital and pay outrageous medical expenses when you can perform surgery on yourself at home. All you need is a sterile knife, a needle and some thread, a rough understanding of human anatomy, and a mirror so you can see what you're doing. Just remember, the image is reversed so the left leg is really the right leg, the left lung is really the right lung, etc, etc.

"Do-It-Yourself" Religion - Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism. It's all been done before. So start your own religion! Invent your own god(s), write your own holy book, develop your own dogma, come up with your own psalms, and schedule your own holy days. Your religion can be as strict or as liberal as you want it to be. Just whatever you do, don't go around saying your religion is the only true religion. That's how the Crusades got started!

"Do-It-Yourself" Government - Who needs legislators when you've got ... YOU! Start at the local level, then jump up to the state level, and when you think you're ready, move on up to Washington, DC - the House of Representatives, the Senate, who knows, maybe even the Oval Office! Raise taxes on your friends and neighbors, install renegade Supreme Court justices who don't believe in such things as evolution and inside-the-park homeruns, devaluate currency, reinstate the military draft, attack other countries "just because," maybe even drop the big one on some poor unsuspecting souls! Who knows, play your cards right and someday your face may end up on a coin!

Oh heck, maybe I'll try the Self Checkout line. After all, it is the 21st century. And besides, what's the worst thing that can happen. It's not like one of these buttons will launch a nuclear miss... oh, darn!

Jack Sheedy

CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.