Monday, July 23, 2012
Morning Thanks--Jack from Microsoft
In human terms, this old desktop Dell--refurbished years ago--is probably well-past retirement age. In the last year, that awful blue warning page snapped up out of nowhere about once a month, a death rattle. But it's served me well and even survived the trauma of moving out of the basement and to the farm.
Until Wednesday, when Windows wouldn't shut down. A dozen times at least I had to hit the switch manually when that baby blue window stayed long past its welcome: "Windows is shutting down"--well, no it wasn't.
By Saturday morning I'd had it. I got up early, still dark, and the whole room was a Twilight-Zone because Microsoft had performed some midnight operation, renewing something or another, and the screen stayed blue all night long--"Windows is shutting down. . ." It was time to do something.
Saturday I wasted a half day googling. Answers arose from nerds to ninnies, but when I tried to do what was suggested, I failed--Windows refused to quit.
Sunday. Sabbath. I rose early. I had planned to trip up to town to watch RAGBRAI, 20,000 cyclists chowing down pancakes and sausage in the park beside St. Mary's. Towns like Alton and Sioux Center don't see multiple thousands of people all that often. Last time the bikers started here, I went with them for a day, biked 73 miles, a distance my posterior will never forget.
But the blasted computer screen was shining again, and I figured it was time to beseech the real power--Microsoft. It was time for a chat.
I went to the website, found the right page, read the material. Seemed clear that if the problem was a thorny, getting this old babe fixed up was going to cost some real bucks--$99, in fact. Old cars make owners into a riverboat gamblers: "Let's just put another set of tires on this old beast yet--maybe we'll get our money's worth." The fact is, just this morning Daily Steals offered a brand new refurbished Dell Desktop for $200--I stood a good chance of paying half that for a half-hour's worth of maintenance on a machine already showing its age.
It was early. And it was Sunday. I figured it was a good time to get some techie on line. Besides, in Seattle it was what?--three in the morning? I hit send and got someone named Jack, who said he was sure that he could cure this Dell's ills in an hour or two, but, as advertised, it was going to cost me the package--$99. I'm a born and reared Sabbitarian, but I'm also a sinner, and I figure this'll all be over by church time. Besides, I'm desperate. Something had to be done.
That was six o'clock--a.m. The two of us finally muttered tearful goodbyes at three in the afternoon.
Turns out Jack is Jacklyn, she's a she, and she's in the Philippines. So yesterday, Sunday, I was on the phone or on-line with one of Bill Gates' finest, a woman named Jack, somewhere near Manila, most of the Sabbath. I missed church--my ox was in a ditch after all (see Matthew 12). My wife went alone because occasionally a surgeon named Jack, half a world away, needed someone to hand her the instruments.
I missed RAGBRAI too--missed both worship and thousands of bikers, the two somehow morally canceling each other out.
But my ox is out of the ditch.
I'm not as enamored with big business as Romney is. I tend to think his "corporations are people too" line is about as audacious as a garage elevator for his wife's multiple Cadillacs. But sometime you just got to bend the knee.
Took Jack nine hours--all through the night in Manila--but she performed surgery on this old Dell, wouldn't quit until she had every last shred of cancer that was killing it--all for just $99.
Maybe if I was smarter, I could have done it myself. Maybe I could have enlisted some local geek at a lower price. Maybe Jack was simply tired of snarling customers and figured she'd spend the night with a true penitent who wasn't p.o.-ed. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
What I know is this old refurbished Dell got itself almost born again again, and I got treated like royalty by a multi-national corporation. I doubt I'll vote for Romney, nor am I converting to Republicanism; but the moral lesson--after a fashion, corporations are people too--wasn't a bad Sabbath sermon for a confirmed sinner like me.
For Jack from Manila, this morning, I'm greatly thankful.