If you build a better mouse trap, the world will beat a path to your door, but not if your mouse murder device is no better than the traps already on the market.
Worse, too many different kinds of mousetrap confuse the consumer. And that’s a win for the mice.
Too many variations on any product muddle the situation.
Automobile seat belts, for instance,
Cellphone chargers, for instance.
Turning on the subtitles on a DVD movie, for instance.
Many of you remember the first few years of automobile seat belts when it was scary to buckle up as a passenger in somebody else’s car without knowing how to unbuckle that model in an accident. The car would come to a halt. The driver would quickly unlatch his belt. And you would just sit there, trapped like a rat, trying to figure out where the release button was.
It made you wonder what a person would do if the unfamiliar car drove into a river, caught fire or, worse, made you the last one into the service station restroom.
Finally, the industry standardized. With rare exceptions today, all seatbelts are the same.
Similarly, until just a couple of years ago, most cellphones had their own individualistic chargers. Every time you changed to a new cellphone, the old charger became useless.
Finally that industry standardized. Today, cellphones tend to work with any charger.
But that brings us to the next electronic heartache – subtitles on the DVD movies you buy or rent. I’m not talking merely about foreign movies. I’m talking about any movie you want to comprehend.
That often means subtitles. The woman I like to cuddle with during a movie (yes, we have a license for that) is not so perfect in her ears as in the rest of her body. She needs some help with her hearing.
(ISN’T THAT RIGHT, SHARON?)
In truth, I also need subtitles – but not merely to hear in the ordinary sense, though that is probably just around the corner. The fact is, we could all use subtitles when it comes to some movies at home or in a theater. The quality of the sound on many movies leaves a lot to be desired.
And it doesn’t just happen in low-budget films. Some of the biggest and best in the business create films to be shown in state-of-the-art theaters, and then they neglect something as significant as giving the audience a fighting chance at understanding the mushy dialogue?
We have learned in recent years that subtitles aren’t just for foreign movies. They are also for movies that might as well be foreign because many of the English words are fuzzy, weak or strangely pronounced. Irish English, for instance. Cockney English, for instance. Texas English, for instance.
Sharon and I have progressed over the years to the point of preferring subtitles on almost all occasions. (And it would be a boon at some noisy restaurants and parties if we all wore headsets.)
But that is only half the battle. How do you turn on the subtitles on a DVD before the movie begins? Each movie seems to have its own version of which icons to click, how to navigate the screen and how to turn on English subtitles.
Half the time, without subtitles, understanding the dialogue requires me to sit cuddling Sharon, shouting my understanding of the script into her hearing aids.
I don’t care if these incompetent producers give us another “Gone With the Wind.” I am still critical of their sound quality. And if they don’t like it, I have a loud and clear message for them.
“FRANKLY, MY DEARS, I DON’T GIVE A DANG!”Bill Hall can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501.