It all started last week when my boss, out of the blue, and "just out of curiosity," asked me if I could tell him how a laser printer worked. (For those who are wondering, I do not work for Dell or HP or even a local Central European firm assembling printers under the "Iffy" or "Ersatz" brand.)
I thought about it and realized that I could not -- I could not tell him how a laser printer worked! And oh, how this has haunted me. It's why I'm thinking of going back to school -- vocational school.
It's not the first time I've considered a change of career, or pondered the acquisition of some portable skills -- small-engine repair once called my name, but that was back in Canada where EVERYONE has a lawn mower or a chainsaw or a snowmobile and many have all three and use them interchangeably.
I once did a report on the workings of a two-stroke carbureted engine and I remember it in detail. I asked my cousin, who was studying mechanical engineering, to explain it to me, telling him I would be expected to incorporate "colorful and apt similes and analogies" into my account -- my cousin did one better and incorporated them into his own account -- "The piston moves up and down in the cylinder like dog food in a can" -- being the one that leaps immediately to mind.
In fact, I remember the workings of the two-stroke engine so clearly, I may just describe them to my boss, substituting "laser printer" for "engine."
"And then the letters appear on the paper like dried dog food pellets on a plate."