This never happened on Star Trek.
It was Thursday night and I was trying to attend my most fabulous writing class via Skype, but I couldn't make the magic happen.
I'm still wearing these awful leg braces from December's surgery, so riding the subway to my instructor Rosemary's house in Park Slope is out of the question.
But my classmate Joan, who is in New Mexico, and I were getting all 21st Century so we could join in without actually being there.
Or at least I was trying to join in.
However, I was having trouble getting online and the Skype calls kept crashing with this obnoxious noise that sounded like someone punching a heavy bag.
Rosemary called me to guide me through the process, but all I got for my efforts was another phantom punch in the ego.
Video conferencing has been around for ages, but to a techno-thal like yours truly it's something akin to voodoo and Buck Rogers. This seems strange, since I was such a science fiction fan when I was a kid, but then the computers in the books and movies were cool, not complicated.
I've been forcing myself to stretch my fossilized knees and I'm not the calmest fellow on this side of the ocean to begin with, so this latest run-in with the Internet was twisting me in all the wrong directions. I was seconds away from losing my Shatner.
Where's the transporter room when you need it?
"Just think positive thoughts," Rosemary said.
If only. While I think I've been making some progress with my anger management efforts, there's something about me and misbehaving machinery that just strips my gears.
I guess it's the feeling of helplessness. We're so dependent on this equipment that when something goes wrong we're pretty much screwed.
And the fun really begins when you call tech support and find your warranty has run out and if you want any help you'll have to crack out the credit card. This never happened to Mr. Spock.
During the last few days I've also been battling with my TV remote and my printer, which decided on Saturday that it didn't feel like scanning documents anymore. It's a good thing phasers aren't real.
I got a rather disturbing example of my computer-driven rage when I was listening to an earnings call webcast and the sound suddenly croaked on me.
Naturally I did the mature thing-hurling F-bombs like they were beads at a Mardi Gras parade. The sound returned a short time later, but I kind of doubt if all that cursing was the cure.
I would've forgotten about my outburst except I was playing back the meeting on my digital recorder to check some quotes when I heard this psycho cursing and fuming.
And he sounded mighty familiar.
"What the fuck!" This freak shouted. "What the fuck is going on?"
Hearing myself freak out like that was unnerving because, honestly, I never really hear myself in a real time temper tantrum. I'm too busy savoring all that allegedly righteous anger.
I wonder if I should get another tape recorder just to keep track of my outbursts-a kind of captain's log where I essentially Watergate myself in the act of being a short-tempered loon. Fred the Shrink suggested a voice-activated device that would only switch on when I flip out.
I suspect that recorder will get quite a workout.
I never did conjure up those positive thoughts on Thursday, but Skype came to life nonetheless and the class was fantastic.
I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to write anything due to the odd conditions but once Rosemary read off her lists of prompts I picked up my pen and wrote myself into a frenzy.
I was so glad we got Skype to work. Of course, my technophobia still hasn't abated. I'm going to take another run at scanning some documents and if the printer doesn't work I'll give that buggy little bugger the Vulcan nerve pinch so hard it'll spew 50 dollars bill.
Did you get all that?