“This is ridiculous,” I said aloud, as my girlfriend, Ashley, walked into the room.
“What’s ridiculous?” she asked.
“Oh, this article I’m reading,” I said. “It’s an old blog post by Michael Hyatt about the importance of using keyboard shortcuts to save time. Most of the comments are agreeing and saying that keyboard shortcuts are the most important thing ever.”
“Who’s Michael Hyatt?” Ashley asked.
“He’s a blogger and a thought leader,” I said. “And I really enjoy his stuff. He seems like a nice guy. But this particular blog post is about how clicking with a mouse uses too much time, and that truly productive people need to use keyboard shortcuts. I mean, please. I don’t care how important you are — nobody’s too busy to use a mouse.”
Ashley shrugged. “So don’t use keyboard shortcuts. Why get upset?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I guess it rubs me the wrong way because I had a professor who said the same thing, and he acted all badass because he rarely used a mouse. It just seems to promote the idea that speed equals productivity.”
“Well, doesn’t it?” Ashley asked. “You get more done when you work faster.”
“Only if you’re truly productive,” I said. “But most people aren’t. They confuse being cool with being competent. They think if they have an Apple logo on their laptop, that automatically makes them creative. And people shouldn’t be working faster. If anything, they need to be slowing down and paying more attention to the quality of their work. It’s the hurry-up-and-half-ass-it approach that bugs me. That’s how life is these days. People don’t do things as competently as they used to, so they make it up in volume.”
Ashley frowned. “I’m not getting it.”
“Quality doesn’t matter anymore,” I said. “With our generation, it’s all about the appearance of competency. People swipe on their iPads and push buttons on social-media software, but what are they actually accomplishing? Nothing! Everyone wants to look cool with their fancy technology, but they don’t care if they produce quality work.”
“You sound like a bitter old man, and you’re only in your thirties,” Ashley said, smiling.
“I feel like a bitter old man,” I said. “I wish I would have come of age two decades ago. I hate the way things are today. Nobody cares anymore. Everyone’s shallow, and it’s as if everything in popular culture is a watered-down version of what it used to be. Movies, music, books — they’re all crap.”
Ashley laughed. “It can’t be that bad.”
“It is!” I said. “Instead of taking the time to do things well, it’s as if people are rushing their mediocrity to the market. There’s more of everything, but it’s all uninspired garbage. Take music, for example. There’s more variety these days, but it’s all manufactured, synthesized crap. The singers just dance around in sweaty Spandex shorts and use pitch-bending software to sound good. You don’t have actual musicians anymore crafting songs. It’s all about appearance; not about quality.
“Also,” I continued, “there are a ton of blogs, but most of them are poorly written, self-indulgent drivel. Do we really need more half-assed bloggers using keyboard shortcuts to rush their typo-ridden crap to the blogosphere?”
“You’re a blogger,” Ashley pointed out.
“Yeah, but …” I paused for a moment, frowning.
“Are you saying your self-indulgent drivel is more interesting than someone else’s self-indulgent drivel?” Ashley asked, grinning.
“Well,” I said, shrugging, “I’d certainly like to think so.”
Ashley rolled her eyes. “Tell you what. Instead of reading inspirational articles and getting all bitter, why don’t you do something truly productive, like the laundry? Last time I checked, there were clothes in the dryer.”
“I already did,” I said. “I took the clothes out.”
“And did you fold them?” Ashley asked.
“Well, no,” I said. “I tossed them on the bed.”
“Ah. You tossed them on the bed.” Ashley narrowed her eyes. “Remind me: Weren’t you just complaining about the hurry-up-and-half-ass-it approach to life?”
I shrugged. “I’ll say this: If there’s anything in this world that needs a keyboard shortcut, it’s the laundry.”