Kage Baker pretty much agreed with that old axiom – that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. You can’t really deny that many and many a catastrophe has struck as a direct result of someone trying to do the right thing.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Good intentions are a fine thing. And certainly, bad intentions rarely yield solutions that bring joy to lots of people. The thing to remember, though, is that if you are doing something with good intentions – well, make sure the people you do want to please or improve know about your plan. make sure they want it. Make sure it really will work for a wider good than you, the instigator, getting a wodge of cash or a nice warm fuzzy feeling.
This inattention to the details is why your grandmother gives you Sue Barton, Student Nurse books when you say you want to be a doctor. It’s responsible for a huge spectrum of gifts that are “just like” whatever you wanted, like the electric guitar your Uncle Jim bought at a pawn shop instead of The Guitar Center on Sunset Strip. It’s how you can vote for a park and get a parking lot; vote for a Little League field and get Chavez Ravine. It leads to wide releases of beta versions of software, just so people can have ’em right now!
It underlies all political moves. Somewhere, even in the steaming 7-layer dip of pork, favours, kickbacks,bribes, etc. – someone actually had the very best of intentions.
I’ve been dealing with updates to my computer programs all morning. They are good programs, I use them a lot, and cautious research and double-checking indicates that all of them so far have been legitimate. No viruses, no Home Users version of Stuxnet: nope, just plain old updates to plain old programs. Someone figured it was a good time to send them all out, apparently.
The problem has been that every time one installs, my system overall grinds to a stop. I don’t say Yes to anything unless I look it over; nothing updates automatically. That usually saves me from the most egregious beta versions; all those additional add-on tool bars that reduce your visible screen to a strip 2 inches high … but not today. All the crap in the world was waiting today, and it all pounced at once.
And even though it is neither very hot nor very windy here, the power keeps going out. They’re only seconds-long brown-outs, but it’s enough to cold-cock the router. And, since the computer has been in the constant midst of updating some damn thing, it takes 20 minutes to get everything synched up and running again.
And the old lady cat – who has never, ever, in two years evinced the slightest interest in my desk – decided to run off the little black cat (who knows the sharing rules) and roll like a maddened tigress on my keyboard. Five hundred words went to the Twilight Zone. I am choosing to believe she was merely being affectionate, and not out to deliberately drive me insane.
So, despite my own good intentions – which involved writing, writing, writing – I have gotten nearly nothing done. But at least I am back at the blog; and, despite the well-meant efforts of the entire freaking Universe, in a pretty good mood for the first time in days. I have iced coffee, and some neat new yarn came in the mail, and I have several brand new horror novels on my Kindle.
I’m going to go wait out the rest of the day with monster stories. I may be losing power and be beset with Home Shopping Channel toolbars and be hunting for the paragraphs that disappeared under the old lady cat’s striped derriere – but at least I don’t have vampires or antedeluvian beasties in the cellar. So things could be worse.
And, as evening thickens and people here fire up their grills and A/C, it could get worse. The power may fail for good. Best to be prepared with some sedentary and non-electronic pastime.
I recommend the same to you, Dear Readers. With the very best of intentions, I assure you.