CTRL-ALT-DEL With A Plumber’s Helper

February 23, 2008 at 3:03 AM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  I’d like to start out with a couple of jokes.
  A high-dollar brain surgeon comes home to his half-million dollar house, and his trophy wife tells him the toilet is clogged in the upstairs bathroom.  "Should I call a plumber?" 
  "Hell, no!" he says.  "Those sons a bitches are all crooks!  I’ll fix it myself."
  Three hours later, it’s still clogged.  He gives up and calls a plumber.  When the plumber arrives, he says, "So, you need to know that I charge 300 dollars an hour.  Whether it takes me five minutes or an hour, it’s still 300 dollars."  The brain surgeon agrees.  The plumber walks in the bathroom, and less than 30 seconds later he walks out.  "Okay, you’re all set.  That’ll be 300 hundred dollars."
  The brain surgeon is shocked.  "How can you do that that quickly?  And how can you charge that much per hour?"
  The plumber says, "Well, how much do you make?"
  "I’m a brain surgeon.  I make 150 dollars an hour."
  The plumber says, "Yeah, that’s what I used to charge when I was a brain surgeon."

  Four engineers were in a car going to an engineering symposium:  an electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer, a chemical engineer, and a computer science engineer. 
  The car breaks down, and they pull over.
  The mechanical engineer is driving, and he says, "Right before it quit, that odd noise was the engine throwing a rod."
  The electrical engineer was riding shotgun, and he said, "We aren’t getting any spark from the distributor."
  The chemical engineer in the backseat said, "I think we got some bad gas back at that last gas station."
  Then they all turn and look at the computer science engineer. 
  He says, "I think we should all get out of the car and then get back in again."

  My Dad told me The Two Rules Of Plumbing:
    1.  Shit doesn’t run up hill.
    2.  Friday is payday.
  But there is another one, less obvious but intuitively easy to grasp:
    3.  It will leak.
  There are probably similar rules for computers as well.  So, my beloved Detroit wanted a new kitchen faucet.  We go look at them to get an idea what we want, and then she goes a few days later and buys one.  Then she wants ME to install it.  Well, fuck.
  Meanwhile, my friend The Dude is having a computer issue.  In a nutshell, he has an "unauthorized" copy of XP on his machine, and the microsoft police  have been hounding him, fucking with his computer.  Most things don’t work, and what does work doesn’t work well.  To resolve it, we need to purchase a legit copy of the operating system.  Last week, that came in the mail, and he needed me to fix it.  I’m going to go over Sunday and fix his PC, then come home and do the faucet.  No problem.
  So, I run into some problems.  Dealing with the Nazis at Microsoft is like dealing with……uh, Nazis.  There may be other ways to fix this, but they didn’t make it obvious.  I got no help on the phone–the foreign call center gave me another number that just gave me a recorded message and hung up.  I couldn’t get through on the website for any help, either.
  One of the problems was that Firefox is the default browser.  Microsoft only likes Internet Explorer, and won’t let you access their sites with anything else because they’re a bunch of poncey cunts.  But one of the generous overload of errors and quirks is that I can’t change the default browser, so when I click on the link it will only open Firefox, and I can’t change it.
  I hate working on other people’s computers, I hate it.  I’ll work on mine, and that’s it.  I have to work on The Dude’s because he’s grandfathered in.  Plus this might be kind of my fault.  I break the news to him:  we may not be able to save his data.  If I could just enter the new key, it would be awesome.  Microsoft doesn’t want him to be able to do that easily.
  All of his music–which he copied onto his computer and then sold the CDs like a dumbass–as well as his games and his retarded screensavers and backgrounds will be gone.  His call; "Do you want me to try something else?  Because I can’t think of anything else."
  Reluctantly, as we went over the options and tried various things, he realized that was his only option at this point.  His computer had all but stopped functioning at this point, with the unauthorized copy of windows XP.
  But because I had done certain things a certain way, or in the wrong order, or didn’t touch second base or whatever–I couldn’t format it using the XP disc.  Maybe it should have let me–it does have that function–but truthfully, it’s never worked before.  I had to do what I’ve always had to do–
  "I need to take this home because my Windows 2000 disc is there.  I can use that to format this properly, then install the xp.  Cool?  I’ll bring to work Monday night." 
  That’s Sunday, and I go home, not to work on his computer, and not to fix the faucet, but we go to my brother’s house to discuss things pertaining to my dad’s probate.  My brother lives not quite an hour and a half away.
  Before we leave, however, I take four advil and lay down for an hour…lots of headaches lately–
  Monday, I’m off from my day job, and I don’t have to leave for the restaurant until after 4.  So I have most of the day to–
  I know!  Let’s fix the faucet!  And if that’s not enough fun, let’s work on a computer at the same time, because nothing says cerebellum-splitting migraine like working on two bullshit tasks at the same time.
  First I set up the computer, and put the win2k disc in to format the drive.  Then I tackle the sink.  Fuck:  I’m going to get wet, I’m going to get dirty, and I’m going to get aggravated.
  I shut off the water under the sink, hot and cold taps, and then undo the lines.  Uhm….if you shut off the water, it should stop running, right?  Well, apparently "off" is more arbitrary than I thought.  I get up, grunting, and go shut off the main water to the house–
  And it’s still dripping on the cold side.  More than a drip; more like a drizzle.  A gentle spring rain falls on my face as I lay on my back, the edge of the cabinet digging into it, and I look up into the darkness behind the sink and try to loosen the nuts.
  The little nuts connecting the pipes are no problem, but these are the big plastic nuts holding the sink down.  I can’t get a purchase on them, there’s no room to work, and the drain pipes are stategically placed to block my view and keep me from getting my arms in the right position.
  I’m no plumber.
  Before I have an aneurism, I stop.  I go check on the computers progress (formatting:  20% done) and sit and stew for a few minutes.  I need….something.  What do I need?  A tool?  Some help?  Some direction?  A fucking clue?  A big-ass hammer?  I wish my dad was here–
  We go to the hardware store, and I’m a little testy.  Detroit says to me in that I-know-how-you-are grating tone that she has that apparently when I"M frustrated or I"M having a problem that I MY sarcasm is maybe a LITTLE TOO much for her.  Well, fine.  I said, "Well your cheery goddamn attitude isn’t making it any better now, is it?"
  And she said, "So’s yer face!"
  Well, she had me there.  I calmed down a bit, and I forgave her for not being as understanding as she should be.  (Hey, you remember it your way, and I remember it mine.)
  I didn’t actually get anything from the hardware store, but it helped center me.  Oh, and the guy told me how to get the nuts off:  A sharp screwdriver and a big fucking hammer.  I believe that’s also how they castrate men in India, and pierce women’s ears in the Australian outback
  I assembled the faucet and it works fine, except for a tiny drip under the sink that I’m going to have to fix eventually. . .like it matters.  And the PC?  Everything installed fine after I used the other disc to format, and I brought it in that night for him.  He seemed not at all concerned that all of his previous data was dust in the wind.  Ultimately I was a hero for both Detroit and The Dude.
  I need a cape.  But then again, this would be really crappy if it was a Marvel comic.  "The IT Plumber!"

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