As used as we are to machines, appliances, electronic equipment and all the other gadgets that make our life wonderful, there are times when their failure to live up to expectations frustrates us to the point where we just have to smack them.
It may be a primitive and irrational reaction but allow me to make two observations.
Firstly, there is something therapeutic and cathartic about giving an inanimate object a nice zetz.  Secondly, sometimes it actually works. Or at least it works often enough to give us hope that a good schiaffo  just might do the trick.
Two movie scenes leap to mind.
In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, as he is about to escape the ice planet Hoth, Han Solo turns on the cockpit computers to fire up the Millenium Falcon. They immediately and inexplicably stall and shut down. Solo nonchalantly gives the equipment a good smack and the Falcon starts right back up again.
In Armageddon, when the ship cannot fire the booster rockets to get off of the asteroid, Russian cosmonaut Lev Andropov yells, “This is how we fix problem in Russian space station!” and then begins savagely whacking the ship’s equipment with a huge crescent wrench. It starts right up!
From radios, to televisions, to automobiles and, apparently, to space ships… we have this instinctive urge to apply some well-aimed (or not) brute force to the object of our consternation. Now, while not consciously punishing the misbehaving gizmo, it surely does have a bit of that element to it. Sure, we rationalize our behaviour, telling ourselves that a good slap now and again straightens out some loose connections or other such excuse.
But reconnecting things, knocking connections back into place, realigning the electronic chakras… that doesn’t explain the thrill we get, that buzz of immediate gratification of knowing that no matter how high-tech things are, sooner or later most things give way to a nice hard thwack.
We are both smart enough to create such technical wonders and at the very same time crude enough to hope that a solid smack will correct a delinquent product of our own design.
Does this make us bad people? No. Does it make us, deep down, hopeless neanderthals? Probably not.
But it does make us human… with all our foibles and eccentricities.
And, to my mind, that’s a good thing.
 Zetz (Yiddish): Punch.
 Schiaffo (Italian): Slap or smack.