My friend Trapper bailed me out of another computer problem this week. In the 15 years we’ve been friends, he’s saved my life at least a dozen times.
This doesn’t count the lives of other people I almost certainly would have killed in the middle of a tech-induced rage.
Trapper’s an IT geek, which means he’s a master of the dark arts. He might even be a warlock. He performs wizardry on insentient, worthless and damnable pieces of junk —like the expensive ConfusTech POS-2600 printer I recently bought.
I knew better than to try anything technical without Trapper’s help, but I wanted to prove to him (and myself) that I had learned something from all the times he’d fixed my computer problems.
Surely I could manage a printer by myself. They come with instructions, right? If I followed them carefully — or mostly — everything would work out.
At the store, the sales clerk was rhapsodic about the printer’s endless virtues, touting that it could do everything I could possibly imagine and some stuff I couldn’t.
Him • “It’ll print, fax, scan, do your taxes, remember your birthday, and change the oil in your truck.”
Me • “Will it artificially inseminate livestock?”
Him • “Of course. I’m telling you, sir, it’s top of the line.”
I should have waited for Trapper. I know now that he would have yanked the salesman’s lying tongue like a pull starter on a recalcitrant lawn mower until he got the truth.
The printer turned out to be evil.
I got my ConfusTech POS-2600 home and set it up to connect with every wireless contraption in the house by following the instructions to the letter. It couldn’t have been simpler.
Except that it wasn’t.
Not only would the POS-2600 not connect with my cellphone, but it also wouldn’t turn on the oven, microwave popcorn, or flush the toilet. Hell, it wouldn’t even print or scan.
Two days I wrestled with it, alternately praying and cursing. Nothing. Even when I held a gun to the control panel, my all-in-one printer refused to work. Finally, moments before throwing myself into traffic, I called Trap.
If you’re the average computer user like me, you have no idea what goes on inside the machine beyond the keyboard. If I push the “a” key, an “a” will appear on the screen.
That’s the limit of my tech know-how. There could be small animals, tiny aliens or the Holy Ghost in there, and I wouldn’t know.
But if you’re the average computer user, you have a work around — a friend, a co-worker, or a homeless-looking person in a dark corner of the office basement who helps you with your IT nightmares.
Trapper set up a remote connection to my computer from his office. I sat in my chair and watched what turned out to be a boring movie that I didn’t understand. We talked on the phone while he explored everything.
Him • “Is that a picture of Kim Jong Un being, ahem, violated by a water buffalo?”
Me • “Yeah. It’s my monitor wallpaper. Don’t lose it.”
Here’s the good news: After another two days of trying — including contacting ConfusTech customer support and NOT cursing at them — Trapper gave me the verdict.
“Your new POS printer is an actual POS [Piece Of Sh--]. Take it back to the store and demand a new one.”
My joy could not be contained. For once, a computer glitch was not attributable to my lack of mental prowess. The device itself was confused.
So, I’ll swap out the printers. I might even get my 3-year-old granddaughter to help me set it up. Hey, she fixed my cellphone.