It’s Not the Gear, It’s You (Part 1)

Read part 2 here.

Never underestimate human stupidity. Never. Better men than me have talked in way smarter ways than I’d ever hope to put into words about the depths of human stupidity. And vaping seems to pull the stupidz into its world like a watermelon attracts flies in a hot summer day.

I really, firmly believe that many of the problems attributed to vaping today stem from people’s idiocy. And before you start protesting that I’m unreasonably calling people stupid, allow me to first make my case.

You see, I’ve been working with tech – not vaping specifically, tech “in general” – for the better part of the last three decades. Throughout this time I learned one grand rule of Tech In General: in 99 out of 100 cases, it’s not The Tech that’s at fault. It’s the user who’s to blame. He’s the culprit. He’s the cause of the problem. And he’s an idiot.

It might be some of the small things. It might be some grand mega-fails. It might be a scorched wick leading to incomprehensibly skewed results finding their way in research that cost thousands of dollars, “ate” hundreds of work hours. Or it might be Teen Joe, who still can’t understand why banging an electronic device with a brick won’t result in “fatter cloudz”.

Instead of (just) sounding like an obnoxious grumpy ol’ man, maybe it would be better to give some examples to show exactly what I’m talking about. Please note that although they’re examples, they’re all really based on real messages and real questions I saw posted online from real people throughout those two real years I’ve been really vaping. For reals.

It only fell once. Today.

I kid you not, this is a phrase I read more than once, obviously coming from more than one person: “my device only fell once and it stopped working”. Usually followed by more comments about how the device – and China, where it was “obviously” made – suck. To people who can’t comprehend the stupidity of this, let’s try swapping the mod with something else, shall we?

* My smartphone fell only once, face-down, and now its screen is broken. It sucks.

* My PlayStation 4 / Xbox One fell from the balcony and now it doesn’t work. It sucks.

* My TV fell from my car while I was moving and a truck rode over it. Now it doesn’t work. It sucks.

Explanation: electronic stuff doesn’t like falling, getting hit or banged around. In any way. A hit, even a minimal one, can make “smaller stuff” in out larger “electronic stuff” break or move. Electronic devices and gadgets aren’t designed to take a beating – unless they specifically state they were designed for this type of use. There’s a reason there are “rugged laptops” available: because all the other laptops don’t “like” falling on the floor.

Similarly, there’s a reason there are mods like the Invader Mini advertising how they were designed from the get go to withstand a lot of misuse: because most of the other mods can’t take it. That’s their main differentiating factor. That’s the main reason to buy an Invader Mini compared to, say, a VTC Mini. And yet, people drop their mods on a daily basis and expect them to keep working like nothing happened.

My mod buttons are sticky ‘cause my RDA leaks

The rate at which questions like this appear makes any “funny” element fully disappear, leaving behind only misery and distrust for the human race. Most people realize that leaks are bad for electronic equipment. And mods are, unfortunately for them, electronic equipment that’s designed to be used in close proximity to liquids. All the time.

Yes, some times the equipment itself is to blame. Since vaping is based on the vaporization of specific liquids, you could argue that our devices could be better designed to be more tolerant to leaks. And up to a point there are, indeed, many… let’s say “problematic” designs out there. Some mods are more prone to juice leaking into them, causing trouble. I have yet to see a single mod designed in such a way as to force leaked liquid away from its most sensitive areas – the screen and buttons. You can’t blame the user in cases like this, where one drop of liquid can end up causing havoc.

Thing is, it’s almost never just “one drop of liquid” for a specific “profile” of user.

I’m talking about the dude that keeps using his drenched mod, liquid pouring down its sides, on his clothes and floor, half the atomizer emptied during one swift puff at an angle, a wet mess everywhere. There are people uploading pictures of their mods in pools of liquid asking “what’s wrong with them”. Yeah, it’s worth wondering: what could be “wrong” with them? I mean, we all use our computer monitors underwater, right? If anything, it should work like some people use that thing called Liquid Cooling on their CPUs and GPUs and whatnots! Right? No?

I can’t not overdrip!

Closely related to the previous problem, when you ask some people how come their mod is almost constantly drenched in juice (“it’s the third one, I’m tired of them failing on me”), they say that it’s because they “drip”. As in, they’re using an RDA instead of an RTA or an atomizer with disposable coils.

An RDA, for those who don’t know the term, is a small-ish tube that doesn’t hold (lots) of liquid like other atomizers do. You have to “re-drip” some liquid, every now and then. Some RDAs can hold five drops of liquid. Others ten. Some twenty. And there are some with no “juice well” or “tank” or, to put it simply, “a place to keep extra liquid” at all, where you should just moisten your wick and that’s all. Anything more would and will leak outside. ‘Cause there’s nowhere for it to go.

And yet, some people keep “overdripping”, dripping more liquid than they should, again and again. And again. They watch it drop on their mod, making a mess, once, twice, thrice, every single day. And they only consider it as a problem when their mod stops working “as it should”.

‘Cause it’s obviously the mod that should be waterproof. It’s the mod’s problem. It’s not their fault that they can’t count to ten and drop a specific number of juice drops in their atomizer, “a specific number” that hasn’t changed from the last time they used their atomizer and won’t change until the next time they use it. Nope, it’s not their problem that they can’t count, or, at least, wipe their mod clean with a hand towel. It’s the mod that’s to blame.

Wait, there’s more stupid to come!

In all the cases we saw, the user is the root of the problem, not the mod. Not the gear. Some people might feel offended, unable to come to terms with their own stupidity. They’re the Proud Stupid, who don’t realize that we are “stupid” as well. I am. Or have been. And will be. Time and time again.

By doing stupid mistakes, by making a fool of ourselves, we learn. We find new information. We improve and adapt. We become better. It’s good to be “stupid”. But only if you realize it afterwards, understand what was really the root of the problem and, thanks to this experience, you avoid making the same mistake in the future. That kind of “time-limited and self-correcting stupidity” is ingrained in our DNA, is a part of us, we’re all prone to it. Because we’re just human, after all.

The true idiot is the one who insists he wasn’t at fault, it was the gear that had The Problem. Because, by hiding behind his own finger and refusing to accept that he, indeed, was the root of the problem “but, hey, we’re just human after all”, he doesn’t learn anything. He does the same mistake again and again, while starting an unending crusade to find The Gear That Will Do Everything For Him And Then Some.

And there’s also the case of the Colossal idiot, the dude who watches hordes of people shouting at him NOT to do something, and yet he does it. Because damn everyone else, what do they know compared to His Majesty? He’ll show them, oh, yes, he’ll show them how he’s better than all of them and how he’s better than all of them. And if he ends up getting hospitalized, he’s still awesome compared to everyone else.

As Albert Einstein put it, according to Frederic S. Perls, “Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe”. But, more importantly, and as sir Frederic added after Einstein’s phrase, “But what is much more widespread than the actual stupidity is the playing stupid, turning off your ear, not listening, not seeing”.

Unfortunately, our time (and your attention span) isn’t infinite as well, so it’s probably better if we cut  our trip into Vaping For Stupids short. At least, for now. Soon (-ish) we’ll return for a trip down the Stupidity Hole. Because, if modern media has taught us anything, is that everything should come in trilogies. Yes, that means there will also be a “part three”. And like any trilogy worth your time, we’ll (try to) keep things interesting by putting different aspects of The World Of Vaping under the microscope.

Until then, feel free to subscribe to our newsfeed and social accounts (Facebook, Twitter) and we’ll inform you ASAP when Teh Stupidz return in part two.

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