The beauty of computers, so the advertisements tell us, is that they make life easier for all of us. Don't you believe it.
I have been corresponding with two computers who work for my insurance firm -- the company that advertises on television during football games and shows a man's house being blown down and five seconds later the agent for the company building him a new one.
These two computers which I've dubbed Adolph and Dave are as different as day and night. If you were captured, Adolph would be the one who hit you over the head with a truncheon, and Dave would be the one who offered you a cigarette.
Adolph is one mean computer. He wants to cancel my automobile insurance. He's really mad at me and I figured out why. I've never put in a claim for an accident, and therefore he has no legitimate reason to take me off the books. He's just waiting for one minor incident, even a crushed fender, and he'll push me out of the window.
Every month I get a nasty letter from Adolph wanting to know how many people are driving my car, what ages they are and whether I've committed adultery in the last six months. He also wants to know how much money I make, if I go to discos and how many times I clean the astrays. m
I answer every question dutifully because I know he's just waiting for me to make one slip.
Every time I send in the form Adolph pretends he didn't get it and sends me another one, which says in caps on the top: "YOU HAVE 10 Days to complete this for our records or your policy will be automatically CANCELED."
I've never been late with a form and I know this burns Adolph up. Once he sent me a letter saying that there have not been too many accidents in my area and although I hadn't had one, they were thinking of canceling my policy anyway.
Once someone crashed into the back of my wife's car and she said we ought to notify the insurance company.
"Are you crazy?" I yelled. "That's exactly what Adolph would like. He's been waiting years to get us. One call from me and he'll hit the cancelation letter button just like that! No one will ever give us auto insurance again."
"Who is Adolph?" my wife wanted to know.
"He's a Nazi computer who escaped to Argentina at the end of the war. Then he was shipped to the United States under another name and got a job spitting out threatening letters to poor helpless people like us. He's responsible for the deaths of more auto insurance policies than any computer in the country."
"Why do we pay premiums if we can't collect when we have an accident?" she asked.
"Because if we don't pay our premiums Adolph will put our names in another computer and we'll never be able to get credit again. I'll pay to fix your car but I don't want you to report it to the police. Adolph is plugged into every accident division in the United States."
While Adolph is writing his sadistic letters to me, Dave keeps urging me to buy more insurance from the company. He sends me pictures of houses burning to the ground, thieves breaking into windows and widows with children whose husbands failed to take out life insurance. Dave wants me to know the company cares about my welfare, my family and my possessions. He even worries about my kid's education and my retirement plan. Dave has a toll-free number that I can call to get further information. He's all heart. The only thing I can't understand is how he can stand to work in the same office with someone like Adolph.