PowerPoint for Idiots

“Where the hell did it go?!”

By “it” she meant the dashed white lines that had just been in the “slide master” view but were no longer appearing on the master slide viewer.  I should explain.

First, I know that these posts link onto my Facebook page in such a way as to show the first few lines with a picture from the post and then give the reader the option to click to read more.  That being said, I think (I hope) I’m far enough down in that little Facebook box to get away with including here my intended title for this post:

PowerPoint for Assholes

You see, my dear sister-in-law Kris – she with whom I have shared many laughs over the years – is currently taking a class at the local community college.  Like so many others, she saw the course title “PowerPoint: An Introduction” and assumed what anybody in his or her right mind would have assumed.  It’s PowerPoint.  How hard could it be.  What she did not know was that at that very moment the woman teaching the course was sitting in a twin-sized bed propped up on several pillows, surrounded by fifteen cats, rubbing her hands together as she watched the course enrollment numbers go up on her end of BlackBoard.  “Yes!  Yes!” she purred.  “I’ll teach these sorry sonsofbitches the true meaning of POWERPOINT!”  In other words, after the first class, my SIL had learned all she was going to learn about an application most of use on a daily basis with great ease and little confusion.  Sure, she picked up a new keystroke shortcut to insert a new slide.  Look, I’m a teacher.  I use PowerPoint every day.  I probably would have assumed the same thing as Kris.

Wrong.

As soon as week two rolled along Kris decided to play it safe and wait until the last minute to look at her assignments.  That’s when all hell broke loose.  This past Friday night I had planned a romantic evening with my wife.  OK, I hadn’t planned it so much as thought about it most of the day hoping it would just materialize.  There are no keystroke shortcuts for that one, let me tell you.  Instead what I got was a seat at my kitchen counter with my choice of three separate laptops on which to hammer out a couple of PowerPoint assignments from a textbook — yes, there’s a textbook, and it’s no joke.

A few hours later, after switching out laptops a bunch of times (compatibility issues with different versions of PPT and such) Kris, my wife, and I decided to call it quits.  What had we accomplished?  I’m not sure.  I think we started with a prepackaged presentation that we were required to take apart and then reassemble.  All I know is that in the end we had a bizarre presentation that looped on something called “kiosk view” for four hours and told us nothing other than where we could get our vacation photos developed.  There were narrations – “This is picture of Iguazu Falls.” – and animations – fly in’s, fade out’s, and popovers.  The next day we trudged forward.  Mind you, these six assignments were all for one week’s worth of work.  At one point Kris recorded the line “For more information contact Trevor” while trying not to laugh.  Trevor is a picture of a man in a lab coat that was included in the course documents for our use.  There was something about him, though, that made us laugh.  I think it was his Colgate smile or that fact that he was Nigerian and named Trevor.  Goodnight, Trevor.  Burn in PowerPoint hell.

Those dashed lines?  Yeah, they disappeared and never came back.  Ooh!  I helped her tidy up a presentation on tornadoes.  I took the word “tornado” on the title screen and made it twist and turn (like a tornado).  She got an A on that one.

And then tonight she was back.  When I saw her car pull into my driveway I hid.  Then I remembered I had to pee.  Unfortunately she saw me.  Back to the counter and the laptops.  “Here’s one for you to work on,” she said.  “It’s about music or something.  I think it’s right up your alley.”  She and my wife proceeded to work on a presentation about copyright laws.  I began to look over the instructions.  OK, this one seemed fairly straightforward.

Start with a title slide and call it…

Did you know the cello was actually called the violoncello?  I actually did.

Did you know the cello was actually called the violoncello? I actually did.

The next step called for me to “list four or five bullet points about the history of the cello.

Done.  Thanks to our friends at Wikipedia (and they’re never wrong) I discovered that the violoncello developed from the double bass in the seventeenth century.  Who cares?  Cellists, probably.

After banging my head against a wall the rest of the presentation devolved into the following.  Enjoy.  And think of us every time you make a presentation.  As for me, I think I’ll stick with Prezi.

These are the parts of the cello.  Hot damn.

These are the parts of the cello. Hot damn.

The instructions for this slide called for me to list "five cellists".  Sure.

The instructions for this slide called for me to list “five cellists”. Sure.

Finally, I was asked to include a slide with four or five "fun facts" about the cello.  Doesn't get more fun than this.

Finally, I was asked to include a slide with four or five “fun facts” about the cello. Doesn’t get more fun than this.

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One response to “PowerPoint for Idiots

  1. You are too funny!

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