The phone call nobody wants to hear

Last night as JoDee and I were sitting down to dinner, the phone rang. I answered it.
"Hello?"

It was my dad.

I must point out that I answered the call on our lousy cordless phone. It has recently developed some strange habits. This current round of strange behavior is now including feedback.

"Hi..*SQUEEK* *SQUEEK* Dead".

What? Who died? My mind reeled thinking of who or what might have made the transition to the great beyond. Was this the phone call nobody wanted to hear?

"What was that?"

"The computer died".

I breathed a sigh of relief. OK, this isn't something that can't be fixed. True, my dad is probably a little upset at this point, but to my ears, this was welcome news. Anyone who knows me (and if you're reading this blog, there's a high probability that you know me, or I've achieved a fame that even I'm not aware of) knows that I have a high disdain for Microsoft Windows. It's not that I think the people of Microsoft are evil, it's just that Microsoft Windows is inelegant at solving problems. It tends to create more problems. Unfortunately for JoDee and I (who can honestly say that we don't use Windows at all at home), our parents exclusively use Windows. Worse, they're using Windows 98, which means they're no longer supported by Microsoft. Now, no matter how many hints I drop on my parents that they'd be much happier with a Macintosh (or, more accurately, how much more happy I'd be supporting a Macintosh), my dad flatly refuses. It's not that my dad doesn't like Macintoshes, he just doesn't see the value in them. He can pick up a version of Quicken for the PC, for $19, with $50 of other goodies attached to it. Meanwhile, if he buys the version of Quicken for the Macintosh, he pays $39 for the privelege, and receives nothing else but the software. Sure, if it's Quicken he wants, it shouldn't matter what platform it's on, but how do you argue with this logic? Also, telling my dad that he can't run his version of Office 2000 on a Macintosh is like telling someone who has a perfectly good house that they're expected to move because the kitchen cabinets are falling off of the walls. The response is obvious: why not fix the cabinets?

Thwarted by previous purchases; Oh the humiliation!

When my dad calls again, I walk him through what I think is the problem. The machine doesn't even power up any longer, and there's no visible reason to explain why it isn't powering up. I tell my dad to change the on-board battery. 30 minutes later, he calls back. It's running fine. A few BIOS configurations later, and he's back in business.

Before he replaced the battery, I asked him if he's thought about his next computer should this fix not work. He has. There's a Compaq over at Costco for $600 that he's had his eye on.

I look for the paper bag so I can face my geek friends. Oh the humiliation!


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