Have you ever asked advice from a store clerk or sought information from a salesperson (“Do these shoes go with this dress?”) and then counted on the person to actually give a knowledgeable answer? We all seem to trust the person “in authority.” Pay attention to these examples. Why I call them all “tired electron” stories will eventually be evident.
When my daughter was in high school, she worked part-time at a local lighting store. At the time, she was a straight-A student who later went on to get her Master’s Degree in Biology. However, at 16, she didn’t know a watt from a joule (I dare say that may still be true.) Nevertheless, customers would seek her advice thus: Will that pole lamp distribute enough light in my den, which is 20 by 30 feet? “Sure!” she’d say with enough clout that the person bought the lamp and (presumably) was satisfied.
Recently, we shopped at Walmart for a Smart phone. My husband, an electronics engineer who not only built our house, but has built cars, computers, etc., asked the head of the technology department if the phone we were considering would allow him to change the settings. “Yes!” he said convincingly. A few sentences down the line, while discussing other functions, again my husband said something about the settings and the young man now said, “What are those?”
I once told a pharmacy clerk that I couldn’t swallow the large pills of the Calcium/Magnesium supplement he offered me and asked if the same dose came in a smaller pill. “Oh, they’re all large,” he said, “Calcium molecules are big.”
And, finally, we come to the eponymous title of this post. A friend of mine, also an electronics engineer who has expert technical skill in all things electrical, electronic and mechanical, had a broken computer and no time to fix it himself. He took it to a service to have it done.
The manager took one look and said, “Your microprocessor is shot.”
“How will you fix that?” asked my friend.
“Oh, I can’t fix that; you’ll need a new computer,” said the young man, “You’ve got tired electrons!”