Coping: If Facebook Wrote Car Repair Books

Yes it was Mother’s Day.

Elaine was all set to have an “art play day” so she was looking through her art books, fine-tuning how each easel would stand, studying new acrylic paint mixing ideas…. You know, the kind of stuff Mothers Do when… (whenever that happens during the year.)

My mission was to get Urban Survival auto-pointing to my FB page because a few people have asked me to.  So fine….


But therein in lies the tale.

One of Elaine’s boys (there are six scattered hither and) called from Arizona.  Asked what I was doing (till E came in from feeding the stray kitty).

I tried to put into words how much “fun” I’d had for six hours trying to figure out the code level of the FB developer side.

“Imagine you’ve just gotten in your car and it won’t start,” I began.  “This is how it works when trying to figure out the occult sciences of FB behind the mirror.”

“Uh-huh…”  He’s a patient guy – willing to humor an old man.

“So it’s like the car won’t start…  Turns out the non-apparent answer is to begin troubleshootizing like this:  Have you checked for proper operation of the trunk latch?”

“Huh?”  I’d gotten his attention.

“Having checked the trunk latch, the next step in troubleshootizing is to check the operation of the glove box….”

“Wait, because the car won’t start?”

“Well, yeah.  So the next step is to “Open glove box (… on the menu) and click on the “fix it” icon.”  Well, except the glove box is empty.  No icon, either.  So then you go to Google and you ask “What do I do if the car won’t start, the trunk latch is good, and there’s no icon in the glove box?”


“Google leads me to a post that says the equivalent of “Have you checked the child locks on the rear door?”

“Say WHAT?  I thought the problem was the car wouldn’t start?”

“Exactly!  Except in real life, it wasn’t a car, it was a WordPress plug-in App that requires a secret hand-shake, a secret message, two goats be sacrificed, but you don’t really need to activate the app in the FB Developer side for the API, just pretend because the key is getting the “key” and the “pass phrase” which from what I could figure was the jump-starting idea…”

“So did you get it working?”

“Well, I won’t know until I post something on my site on Monday because when I couldn’t see my list of pages, and when I didn’t read the fine print about the FB API, I just kept going to “Try next step…”  Now I’m going to make a run to town for more goats to sacrifice.”

“Where did that get you?”

“Well, in car repair terms, I filled the windshield wipers, checked the tire pressure (only in the left front, unless it was a full moon) and then I checked to make sure the left rear window was rolled up…”

“…you’re kidding me, right?”

“Oh, no, dude.  When you are chasing around after apps not playing nice between WP and FB it’s like working on an airplane – first check wings are attached – and then working on the most complicated Mercedes every built.  you know, do you have a Cray computer and some test leads plus a magic decoder ring for the OBD II onboard diagnostic computer?”

“Cars and airplanes?”

“Well, yeah, it’s kind of like that.  WP ( is like the airplane part and they have one set of standards and along with the PHP 7 mafia, they have a future for lazy publishers like me who don’t want to write in native HTML 5… following??”

“Well….er…..sort of…..”

“And there’s nothing wrong with the Mercedes because it made its owner, Zuke Markerberg famous and rich and all…. but I’m just trying to get the LAN in the airplane talking to the back-up camera in the Mercedes.  And so Sunday, I was run all around the Mercedes which wasn’t starting, if you follow…..”

“So what did you do?”

“Young man, your mom is in from feeding the little kitty and I have an overpowering desire to find some starter fluid….”


“‘…was thinking more along the lines Everclear.”

“Can’t be that bad…can it?”

“Worse.  My next step is to figure out why the high cut-off switch in the OBD II for the air conditioner is giving me a low pressure fault…”

I don’t mean to be a grouch and I’m sure there is a logic to the miles of code in WP and FB, but it’s like a current best selling author wrote when he spoke of the “fly in the china shop.”

“A fly can’t damage a china shop by itself,.” he explained.  Unable to lift anything of consequence, he simply finds a local bull, flies into his ear, and drive him crazy – and in the direction of the china shop….and the rest is a done deal.  I think it might have been Yuval Noah Hurari in Homo Deus, a brief history of tomorrow.”

(a pause while the son pondered things…)

“You need to understand, Alan, there are two parts of the Web.  One part, the one you and your lovely wife deal with is called the “public facing side.”  That’s where the infotainment lays and all the ads, videos, link bait, Kardashian stories and the happy horseshit we call news.

But behind it all is the “technical face of the web” – which is what we log into in order to get a WP site to talk to a FB page but not pass ads, not do this, and flush after every meal.  That kind of thing.

No one ever thinks about the umpteenth quadrillion hours of ass-callouses by developers or wannabe hackers like me who just want to jumpstart a FB page with the airplane…er…WordPress.  Here’s your mom…”

20 minutes later, I took Elaine a glass of peat-liquor from the previous Ure familial homeland.  She’s not ready for aquavit from the Jensen side yet…caraway ain’t for everyone.

“Did you check the plugs on that page?”

Alan was asking smart questions now…

Yes sir, m’am, or other.  The web ain’t for old people, but then neither were transistors.”

Is it time to go to work yet?

Write when you get rich,

3 thoughts on “Coping: If Facebook Wrote Car Repair Books”

  1. The problem, in my experience, is usually the left handed smoke shifter. If it’s not that, you are looking at replacing a couple of hundred feet of flight line.

  2. OMG George!

    After a very serious and somewhat troubling lead column(and Saturday’s), the coping side reads like an acid dream! The scary part is that I get it.

    The majors, FB, WP, Ghoulgle, AMZ, etc., write obfuscated back end code for job protection, system protection, competitive advantage and pure sloppiness on the part of overseas contract programmers. Elegant code can be understood, and we can’t have that.

    Per the lead part: On my system I’ll be removing any unnecessary nodes and data from external access. That means unplug, not just click! Time for serious backups and I’ll be doing it totally offline. It’s obviously way past time to suss out how to live well without relying (too much) on the net.

  3. Hello, George,
    The problem with finding anything relevant on google seems to be that they have sacrificed relevancy in the name of ‘political correctness’, and have thus ‘mis-parsed’ themselves into ‘go ogle’, if you get my meaning. ;-)


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