Murphy's Law states: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." This is especially true and especially painful when there is an audience involved.

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Alice's Restaurant: Technology failure circa 1965

As seems to be the case nationwide, the local classic rock radio station has a long tradition of  filling up its Thanksgiving playlist with the Arlo Guthrie’s brilliant, comic, 18 1/2 minute ode to hippie sensibilities, “Alice’s Restaurant“. Although I’ve listened many times over the years, it wasn’t until recently that I realized the song’s lyrics/monologue convey an important lesson about making sure your technology will work as expected before your presentation is due to begin.

We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, sat down. Man came in said, “All rise.” We all stood up, and Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog. And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry, ’cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American blind justice, and there wasn’t nothing he could do about it, and the judge wasn’t going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. And we was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but thats not what I came to tell you about.

If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and listen to the entire song. The text alone, without the music and without Arlo’s dry, satiric delivery doesn’t do it justice.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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