Tech Support

Yes, that's my alter-ego. It's a good thing I know how to fix computers, because I'd have nothing to do with my evenings otherwise! A friend from church called me up several weeks ago with a problem on his college-aged daughter's laptop. It was full of crap. The kind of crap you get from going to sites you shouldn't be on, like the music-pirating sites. Of course, the daughter says that it was her "friend" who did that, and she told her not to... This machine wasn't just full of crap, it was absolutely trashed beyond repair. So I spend hours upon hours on it and manage to salvage the data. Then I get to order recovery CD's since none were available. Wait a few days for the mail to come, reload WinXP, patch the heck out of it, add all the free security and malware tools I can think of, restore the data. Phew, it's fixed and I'm a nice guy! Game over.

But then... Game not over. Instead, now it's round two (imagine me on Donkey Kong jumping over barrels!) This week the same friend calls me up with more (and worse) problems. His main computer at his shop had died. No backups. All his business data was on it. He brings it over and we manage to get the data off (have I mentioned my hatred for Win98 bluescreens that occur when you even look at the PC?) We try this and that, finally reloading with Win2k to save me some premature aging. Put the data back on, patch the heck out of it. Lather, rinse, repeat. Game over.

But then... Game not over. I've made it to level 3. If you're not a techie, then you likely haven't had the joyous experience of talking someone through something you have no idea about over the phone. It's a conversation that's mostly filled with sentences that begin "Now look in this corner of your screen, click the little icon that looks like _____. What do you see?" I've had those conversations with far too many people. Somehow, the fact that I work in the IT industry is supposed to automatically grant me superhero powers to understand every program on every version of Windows on every computer in every state. I hate to pop your bubble, but I've never seen or used your cool program called "WreakChaos v2.5" And yet, I'll gladly fix it for you! So after more phone calls and more "Sorry, not sure what that means..." I sit waiting for level 4. Game paused. Lather, rinse, repeat.

One would think that I'd have my computers at home (I have more of them than I care to admit) running in ship-shape condition. However, after playing Donkey Kong for so long, there's not usually much energy left. Amy has learned about instant messaging, and she goes to Jolayne's computer whenever there's a problem on the kids' PC and sends me an IM that usually says something like "Dad, are computr is brokn. Cum fix it NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Of course, no matter the time of day and what I might be currently doing, the Kline-family Service Level Agreement (which requires 99.999999999999999% uptime on all machines except those belonging to the IT guy) is in full force, so alarms sounds until I go fix her "computr." I wouldn't want to be in breach of that contract! Game on. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sometimes I think about taking on a thick south-Asian accent and saying things like "Hello Mr. Computer Weenie. How may I be fixing your computr today? May you please be on hold for a moment?"
Then I'd run away and play Donkey Kong for an hour!

So I wonder how often my podiatrist friend has people who call him up saying "I have this really ugly corn on my foot. Can I come over after work and have you fix it for me while I wait?" ...I should have been a podiatrist. This could very well be a conspiracy in the making!


Lori said…
I liked your post. I'm sure Sam can more than understand where you're coming from. He's fixing people's xboxes, networks, palm pilots, laptops, ipods, and desktops all the time. Apparently college is a very hazardous time for electric equipment. It's good of you to still help, but make sure to return him the opportunity to provide free service next time you have a foot fungus or something.
Becky said…
great post.
I wish you were a podiatrist, I have lots of techie relatives, but none that can fix my bunions ;)
kevandcan said…
Amen, brother. I spend countless hours fixing computers for people in our ward. Seriously, I've fixed some people's computers 4 times within 6 months. It does get exhausting -- especially when they visit sites they shouldn't that cause the problems (and other problems).

I hope to someday fix a dentist's computer, then I'll charge them like they've charged me for the last 8 years for Candace's teeth...Um, sir, I have to defrag your hard drive, that'll cost $150, but you see, you have 2 logical partitions, which isn't normal, so it'll take another $100. And then your msconfig startup is awful. It really should be cleaned out. I know the last time I did it was just 6 months ago, but it's bad again. We can leave it, but it'll hurt in the morning.
Jenn said…
Yeah, apparently knowing photoshop makes me the most technically person in the relief society. Unfortunately, I can't explain to most people that I'm an idiot with hardware. That's when I call my brothers for help:).
Mia said…
That is pretty much what it is like around here too. I too require 99.999999999% up time. My dad calls Forrest all the time asking for help with things Forrest has never seen. It astounds me how much he can acomplish over the phone. I helped a neighbor attach a photo to an email and that took us over an hour and a half. Geesh! PS Only Capital One wants to know whats in your wallet :)

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