My buddy Stan only calls for one of three reasons.
A) He either wants to borrow something.
B) He wants me to hold something he “borrowed”.
C) If not A or B, he is in trouble with his wife, Daphne.
From the panic in his voice, I knew it had nothing to do with borrowing.
“Daphne left,” he cried.
“Sorry to hear that.”
“And I really need her.”
“Maybe you should have thought about that before you did whatever you did.”
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
“I am talking about why she left you.”
“Dude,” Stan said, “she went to Walgreens.”
“Okay, let’s back up. Why are you calling me?”
“I need you to fix something.”
That surprised me. Stan can fix anything. The man is a wizard who knows everything about everything – so long as whatever it is – is not biological or digital. Only people and computers baffle him, so the call must concern one or the other.
“It’s your computer?” I guessed.
“Exactly, Daphne knows computers but I don’t, can you help?”
He sounded so pitiful, I had to driver over there. When I arrived, he explained his problem.
“I need to complete a bid before the close of business in Tehran…”
I interrupted, “I didn’t think US citizens could do business in Iran?”
“Whatever…..” he said, “but I keep getting blocked by these annoying pop-ups. They want me to download software. They demand I change my password. They offer hot deals, but they won’t let me work. It’s very rude.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” I told him.
“The thing is,” he reflected, “they never bother Daphne because she really knows computers.”
But, Holy Moly, were they ever coming after him.
His computer was a virtual beehive of malware. I have never seen a system so infected with viruses, adware, Trojan horses and honey-pots.
It made me reflect on the virus metaphor.
I read somewhere that much of who we think we are, is not really us. Fully a third of our body is comprised of the bacteria and viruses that we host. Mostly they are benign, some even helpful – but there is a cohort that posses a power and agenda all its own. Not only does it affect our health but mounting evidence suggests our moods and behavior as well.
I hope to one day build this line of reasoning into a defense for everything I have been accused of – but in the meanwhile, I had work to do for Stan whose infected computer was, again using the biological metaphor, critical.
So I cleaned the malware entries from his computer startup parameters.
I shut off malevolent services.
I ran scans to quarantine and delete malignant executables.
I peeked, poked and prodded all the hiding places known to be frequented by virulent scripts.
I sifted through his registry.
Still the pop-ups persisted.
“I thought you knew computers,” Stan said.
“I only know two things for sure about computers,” I told him, “that the more I know about them, the more I hate them and that to err is human but to repeat an error 30,000 times a second requires a computer.”
Just then, Daphne walked in.
“Show Greg what you do to get rid of the pop-ups,” Stan said.
She remained contemptuously silent as she took off her scarf.
It was a long woolen scarf, one that twined around her neck multiple times yet still had the length to touch both knees – and from across the room, she snapped the scarf like a whip, catching the monitor with enough force to send it reeling.
When the screen spun to a wobbly stop, sure enough, the pop-ups were gone.
“See?” Stan said, “she really knows computers.”
I was dumbfounded. She hit the monitor, not the CPU where all the action takes place. Whatever she did was beyond my comprehension, still to salvage some pride, I pointed to the thin outline of a faint pop-up timidly materializing on the screen.
It offered great deals from Amazon.
In response, Daphne shot it a searing glare, one that I have not witnessed since Catholic grade school…
The pop-up emitted a pitiful “eeep!” as it scampered off the screen to return to wherever its kind comes from.
“See?” Stan said, “I told you, she REALLY knows computers.”
40 thoughts on “Stan’s Computer”
Ah, the hours I could have saved if I had Daphne powers. But to expect a glare to work isn’t logical – probably why it never worked for me.
Neither Stan nor Daphne are bound by logic. It is the advantage of living in fiction. 🙂
There are SO many times when I could have used Daphne and her scarf. Does she realize how much money she could make fixing people’s computers? And who knew computers were smart enough to know not to mess with people like Daphne? I thought they were just smart enough to know how to drive me crazy!
A sentiment shared by so many others. 🙂
If only it were that easy! I’d have been right there with Stan. Thanks for the laugh.
As in so many things, all you need is magic.
Oh that I wish it were that simple, Greg. If mere threats, if mere verbal abuse were to make a computer behave, mine would be running as smoothly as a barbershop quartet. But I like your line of defense about the enemy within. “I am truly sorry your honor, but my stomach microbes made me shoot the computer.” –Curt
“I am truly sorry your honor, but my stomach microbes made me shoot the computer.”
“Yes, your honor.”
Holding up court issued laptop, “Wanna take a shot at mine?”
LOL. Too funny. Hugs.
We all need a Daphne.
We do – but it comes with a cost. 🙂
Ah, I appreciate what you’re saying.
Great story. Totally talented with the scarf. If I tried that, I’d probably miss and break something else!! 🙂
It does take practice and Daphne had a lot of practice snapping Stan.
Ha ha ha!! I bet!! 🙂
She’s got a real future. If she ever gives up on Stan, give her my number.
She gave up on Stan long ago. It is the secret of their happiness.
I love Stan and Daphne stories and this one is timely for me. I had an issue with my Apple password. Well, ‘had’ is not the correct tense as apparently I still have an issue with it. But for the first round, a nice Apple employee talked me off the ledge, and helped me get it reset. I removed all the malware that was lurking, too. Now for round two, I’m practicing my scarf snapping. I think it’s all in the wrist.
Personally, I prefer to headbutt the monitor.
It takes a village I guess!
“Fully a third of our body is comprised of the bacteria and viruses that we host.” When I read this line, I immediately thought: “You are what you Tweet.” Oy Vey!
Hey, we are not supposed to get political around here. (oh, I am sooo bad) 🙂
You just did it! Bwahahahahahaha!
What’s Daphne’s phone number?
She doesn’t even give that out to Stan.
I need to learn her secret!
A rubber mallet works too. It may not solve the software problem but it will make you feel a whole lot better.
Hey, real good story.
Computers . . . Oy vey!
Take care —-
I have worked with computers since the days when they had vacuum tubes and the more I work with them, the more I detest them.
Yet more proof that computers are not inanimate objects, but hyper-aware super-beings from another dimension, who are visiting us poor, barbaric primates and running experiments on us to see what makes us ‘tick.’
Daphne has them SCARED.
Ever seen the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Uh-huh? Now drive by any school bus stop and take note of how glued to their phones the kids are. You bet, it’s an invasion.
I wonder if Daphne wants to set up shop. I’m sure she could do her work virtually. Fun post, Greg.
Either that or she could market line of scarves to technical types. 🙂
She could call her brand Data Whiplash.
Hooray for Daphne and her magic scarf!! I’m so ignorant when it comes to computers and how they work, I wouldn’t know malware from silverware or flatware or clay ware or cookware or dinnerware or beware!! Lol!
Well, I’m LOL now, but if that happened to me I would have to start drinking beer just so I could cry in it! 😢🍺
Thanks for the laugh. You brightened my day.
Stan tells me that she uses her magical scarf on more than just computers. I wonder why he flinches when he tells me that.
There’s good and then there’s Daphne good. Great story. I’m sure you would have gotten there eventually.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of “good enough” and when working on public safety systems, it was a difficult concept to get people accept. They could never accept that good enough was good enough – until you said, “yeah, but look at what we have been working with.”
Daphne’s scarf defines the essence of what is good enough. It is whatever works.
“Perfect is the enemy of good enough”
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