I discovered a Turbo Tax problem today and realized it's the same as Porsche's problem. It's also about the assassination question, the government issue and the cat vomiting on the homework. It's the computer problem.
It's the novel writer's problem.
I read about the Porsche problem in Dutch Mandel's column in Autoweek's online edition yesterday. The problem as I remember it is that Porsche's engines built between 2001 and 2005 had a shaft-bearing problem. The engines hand-grenaded, as in pieces came apart and the engine stopped working.
You figure Porsche would fix this problem. First they refused to acknowledge the issue. Not their problem. American Porsche owners took Porsche to court. As evidence accumulated, they accepted that there might be a problem and established a sliding scale about how much it was their problem. The scale was based on the car's age, mileage, condition, and how long a person owned the car.
It didn't address the issue and many owners are left unsatisfied. Take the guy Mandel used as an example. He bought his car in March, 2003. The engine destroyed itself in 2013, ninety-eight days after it was ten years old, with 26,000 miles on it. Not our problem, Porsched told him. Guess he should have taken better care of the car, beyond the scheduled maintenance that he did, or driven it less than the 2600 miles a year he put on the car.
And that's the same as the Turbo Tax problem. The IRS told me yesterday that I owe them money for the 2011 tax year. With great indignation, I reviewed their information and then examined my Turbo Tax entries. No, the IRS was wrong. That's not what I put into Turbo Tax. But wait; was what I entered into Turbo Tax what was submitted to the IRS?
There it was. Although I had entered it into their program and it had not put it onto the form that was submitted to the IRS, it was my fault because I didn't check Turbo Tax's work. Nevermind that I bought Turbo Tax because it's supposed to save me the need from wrestling with all those forms and that they have all sorts of promises and advertising how much they can be trusted and why they're so great.
Which makes it the same as the Assassination Question. When Charlie Rose was interviewing Syrian President Bashar Assad, someone asked at my group, why wasn't Assad assassinated? Why? I asked. If assassination is the answer, what's the question? Assassination is to politics to me as rape is to sex.
I asked him which assassination had solved problems in the past. Depends on your point of view, he said. It probably solved the assassin's problems.
Which is why it's a government issue, a religious and computer problem, and it's about the cat vomiting on the homework.
I once took a college course while I was stationed on Okinawa. Night course, philosophy, with the University of Maryland. One night my cat vomited on the paper I was due to turn in less than an hour later. I was furious with the cat and frustrated. I couldn't redo the paper with the time constraints imposed. Accepting it for what it was, I arrived at class, sought my professor, told him what had happened and asked for permission to turn it in at next class.
He was derisive about it. I didn't understand why. I didn't know that such excuses, like the dog ate my homework, were routinely given and usually dismissed as bullshit. I only knew that I was telling the truth. It angered me and it's stayed with me. To this day, I think, I should have taken the vomit covered paper in and given it to him.
But I didn't know.
All of this is like the government's problem and the novel writer's problem. The writer, when writing a novel, makes an implicit contract with the reader to tell a story and engross them until the end, where the story will be resolved. The reader then reads the story with good faith, believing that's what will happen.
Of course, how many times have you read a novel that had an unsatisfying ending, that left too many gaps of logic, didn't make sense according to what you had read, or frustrated you because some critical fact was left out that only the protagonist knew and acted upon?
Maybe it's all me but I believe that Porsche or any car bought was built with the manufacturer's best intention and that if they have a problem with it, they'll acknowledge it, do the right thing and fix the car.
Maybe it's me, but I believed Turbo Tax will faithfully accept and transmit the information I put into the program and if it doesn't, they'd acknowledge it and do the right thing.
Maybe it's me, but I have faith that we can work out differences and that we don't need to assassinate anyone to do so and wouldn't want to because we've already well proven that killing in general and assassinating people don't solve our problems.
I have faith, like with Porsche and Turbo Tax, that the computer will work as designed and if not, they'll fix it and not blow me off by directing me to forums where I might 'find a solution'.
I have faith that we'll elect principled people and that our governments will work for our people's common good and create and enforce laws that will make the best use of our resources, help take care of our poor and weak, and improve our lives and strengthen us as a group and as individuals.
Yeah, it's all about faith, trust and belief.
It is me, of course. I have certain beliefs and formed my trust with faith that my beliefs are right.
Turns out that I'm often wrong.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com