The Excitement of Making it Up as You Go—Or What Happens When Being Clueless Does Not Stop You

Earlier this week I had one of those “Life’s Little Lessons” moments—taught to me by, of all things, my Canon printer. Perhaps it is a lesson that will resonate with you.

It had to do with “being clueless”.

I had asked my son Chris to help me update my WiFi system as it was very slow…. as in “going-slower-than-a-turtle” slow. I purchased a 3-Pack Google WiFi system and Chris walked me through the installation steps over the phone. I was very proud of myself and happy with the new setup.

Until later in the week when I wanted to print a document and discovered that my printer was looking for my previous WiFi set-up and thus, would not print.

No trouble, I thought…. I will ask Chris to email me instructions that would make my printer (which was created in the dinosaur era) find the new network. How hard could this be?


You must first understand I have a love/hate relationship with instructions. I like them to make sense and to contain all necessary steps as well as any possible steps I might need.

 Enough said.

Chris emailed me a link to the instructions. But they did not exactly mirror what was on the dinosaur printer options panel. I was guessing which options to choose and doing OK until THE VERY LAST STEP in which I had to press the WPS button (eh?) on my new fancy network access point thingy but the trouble was my new fancy network access point thingy did not have a WPS button as it is NEW and the instructions are for a very old dinosaur printer.

Very old…

So….. I reached out to my son again and he emailed new instructions that involved attaching a USB cable from my printer to my computer.

OK…now I am getting nervous….I need to use a USB cable? Just where is my USB cable? Would I know it if I saw it?

I found my USB cable and now it is late at night and I am tired but I open the link and I see this:

zzzzzzzzz – I felt my eyes glazing over…. Being a wise woman, I went to bed.

The next morning with coffee in hand I screwed up enough courage to try this again. (I always think better with coffee in hand…. or a glass of wine…but it was too early for that.)

First Step—uninstall the Multifunction drivers.  I have to confess…the thought of uninstalling things that make my printer work made me nervous…but I did it anyway.

Next—download the driver (what is a driver??) and there was a snag. My dinosaur printer (oh I mean Multifunction) is so old that it will not recognize drivers from my Windows 10 Operating system.

I can try drivers from other Windows Operating systems but they may not work correctly as noted below – “Canon will not issue drivers for this (dinosaur) model … bla bla bla should function in Windows 10 environment with some limitations which are currently unknown to Canon.”

REALLY?? …… I am thinking it’s a little late to tell me this NOW THAT I HAVE UNINSTALLED ALL THE OTHER DRIVERS.

So I decide to roll the dice and choose the Windows 8 drivers but then I discover there are a bunch of Windows 8 drivers….. aughghghg

I tried to be logical and as my system says Windows 10 (x64) … well, I chose the Windows 8 (x64) driver.

You realize, of course, I do not know what I am doing. I am acting like I know what I am doing. I am making this up as I go. I am clueless.

Once I did that, I chose Easy Install (I am no dummy) and followed the steps including clicking “Agree” to the license agreement. (As before, I have no idea as to what I am doing and really agreeing to…maybe I agreed to let aliens play computer games at my house.)

Next, on Page 16 (sigh) of Page 20 (more sighs) … I was told to detect (click on) the access point and then click Connect which would not be a big deal but as I had a 3-pack WiFi system, the menu showed all the access points and no matter which one I chose, it said that point was already taken and to choose something else.


Time to improvise again…..the only thing I knew to try was to go around my home and unplug two of the three access points—and guess worked and soon thereafter I was printing a document!

Later in the day, as I was sitting on my screened in porch, I could only laugh at the ridiculousness of this…once again, I was in Janet-Mode ….. an illogical combination of “knowing a teeny-tiny bit about what I was doing” mixed with “making it up as I go – total and complete cluelessness”.

I will confess… when I was in the middle of trying to solve this issue…I did NOT consider calling my son because there was a small sense of (as silly as this will sound) “excitement” that played in my heart – of maybe I can do this if I do not quit…maybe I can figure it out.

The truth is… as much as I want things to run smoothly in life…it can be those uh-oh moments when I am clueless…when I have to make it up… it is those moments that can lead to a greater awareness of the potential in me …. there is a small sense of adventure and excitement that comes from figuring things out on my own… making it up as I go.

I know this is just a cutesy little story. After all…it was merely a printer issue. All I had to do was connect it to a WiFi network.  It’s not the end of the world.

Yet this experience was simply a reminder to me… and hopefully to you… it is not what we don’t know or understand that is the challenge…. the issue we face is letting that lack of know-how stop us…we let it prevent us from even trying.

Because sometimes… making it up as you go… leads to taking more chances… leads to new adventures…

….. and leads to a deeper understanding… of who you are and the strength you carry inside you.


3 thoughts on “The Excitement of Making it Up as You Go—Or What Happens When Being Clueless Does Not Stop You

  1. Let me first say, Janet, I am not one of those conspiracy theorists. But I am damned sure those techies in Silicon Valley get together for beer every Friday after work to connive and devise more ways to confound our lives. Their credo: “Planned Obsolescence for All.”

    Kudos to you for your tenacity to tackle it. And so glad your son has the knowledge to help you through it. I don’t suppose you’d give out his phone number would you?

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