Thursday, December 1, 2005

I have never wanted to strangle someone as much as I did today — and believe me, I've had days when I wanted to strangle someone. I was on the tech support desk at work, which is an absolutely thankless job to begin with, and I spent all afternoon listening to the most retarded things I have ever heard come out of an adult's mouth, save for when that adult is George W. Bush. Working tech support, you literally have conversations like this:

Moron: Hello? Yeah, it won't let me download my file.

Tech Support: Okay, I'm gonna need you to go to your computer's "Start" menu...

Moron: Hold on... You mean I need a computer?
I'm not making this up: One of the people I had to help — and I'm like ninety-eight percent sure he's not a member of the Yanomami who was just introduced to electricity last week — wanted to print out a file and then e-mail me the paper printout. And since I'm at work and it's a business and everything, I can't treat this guy like the ignoramus he is, and that creates a lot of stress for me. Not to mention the stress from catching crap from people with projects due in two hours and who have never heard of Murphy's Law. And the stress from trying to fix someone's computer over the freaking phone — imagine trying to describe to someone how to repair their car's transmission without actually seeing what they're doing, or directing someone to perform open heart surgery over the phone, or defuse a nuclear bomb... Some tiny little thing that I could fix in three minutes if only I were actually by the damn computer becomes this ginormous headache simply because, apparently, in the eight-hundred miles between my office in New York and this idiot's office in Milwaukee, there isn't one person who knows how to use a goddamn computer.

I have zero patience with people who complain about their computers and never bother to actually learn how to use them. Somehow, the computer — and maybe to a lesser extent, the VCR — gets singled out, the way people assume the appliance comes with a feature where its instruction manual seeps into your brain by osmosis, and if you actually have to spend some time with the device, see what happens when you press the different buttons in different orders, deduce some patterns of behavior, then it's the machine's fault that you're so dense. If you're looking for something obvious, try a hammer. Otherwise, get it through your skull that the computer is merely a tool and it's only as useful as the person behind it, which, judging from tech support experience, is not all that useful. No one calls tech support for help with their bandsaw: "Hi, tech support, I seem to be having some trouble with my saw. One minute I'm using it and everything's fine, and the next, I'm feeling this tension on the blade and it's making this screeching noise like metal scraping against bone.... Okay, you want me to dislodge my hand from the saw? Okay, I'm doing that. I've gotta go slow cause it's slippery with all the blood. Okay, okay... No, no, oh, see, you should've told me to turn the thing off first, now the blade's caught in my other hand."

At least you only make that mistake twice.

By the way, if you Google "bandsaw," the eighth or ninth link that comes up is from the website, and it's a page titled "Suicide by bandsaw." Apparently, there's pictures, in case you're creepy. I want to take this moment to say, please don't commit suicide by bandsaw. Someone's gonna have to clean up afterwards, and it's not gonna be you, and that's just a totally inconsiderate way to shuffle off this mortal coil. Be polite, and OD or slit your wrists in the bathtub. It's common courtesy.

...which is what I wanted to do while helping people out on tech support. I mean, die. Not be courteous. The only plus side of working tech support is that the guy on the other end of the phone will do whatever you tell him to. So after he and I just spent an hour bonding, trying to open up Microsoft Word, I really wanted to say, "Okay, now I want you to take your keyboard and clobber yourself over the head until you're unconscious and out of your misery. And don't ever call here again, you fucking imbicile." I'm sure he would've had trouble figuring out which peripheral was his keyboard.

Someday, they'll make this device that's half-Pentium, half-Battlebot, and, on its own, it'll beat down any idiot trying to operate it. Ah, sweet robot utopia.