One Bad Apple


I know why Cain really killed Abel. It was all about the first Apple. Their mom and dad had the first one on the planet, and production of each Apple took a few months. So, when the two boys ran into software problems, all the kinks hadn’t been worked out. There weren’t that many Apples out there to use to test glitches. 

Everything had been fine until Abel got a message from some slimy guy everyone nicknamed “Snake.” Unfortunately, when Abel opened the email, it was a virus. Now everything on his new shiny toy was infected.

Since Cain, Abel, and their folks were the only humans in the region, there were no live human beings to call who could help them. Everything had been outsourced to a land far, far away. They were forced to use an ancient version of the automated phone call. It took days because one of them had to ride by donkey to the nearest town and hand their “service request” to a man who then rode on to the next town. The second man, in that neighboring town, in turn, found the next available agent to ride to yet another town. And so on, and so on, and so on. 

Meanwhile, Cain and Abel were left “on hold” for weeks at a time.

It was the third time they had to send the Apple in for repairs after Abel had opened yet another suspicious email from Snake. Cain couldn’t take it anymore. He was almost to first place on Hieroglyphics With Friends and was adding to his homestead on Caveville every day. He had worked hard in his quest to be even more socially isolated than knowing only three other people.

He knew what must be done. Enough talking. Tough times call for tough action. 

He eliminated the “user error” permanently.

Not much has changed. 

It’s astounding how quickly my serenity goes to pot during one phone call for help to replace a broken iPad. I dialed the number for the technical assistance department of the store where I bought the iPad. I pushed all the right buttons, I waited, I pushed another button, I ended up at the first prompt.

Then, I did it again. I know there is some kind of hidden microphone or camera that records all this, and those guys halfway around the world are seeing “how many times the monkey will hit the buttons.” Laugh it up, guys. Just remember, “Vengeance is mine, saith the user.” You too will have a day when the garage door opener breaks as the heavens pour down rain, a day when the answering machine goes out and you’ll never know if that one special girl called you back, a day when the ATM eats your card. You will have your technological day of reckoning.

Finally. A live human being came on the line. I told him that my son’s iPad needed to be replaced under our warranty.

“Oh, let me transfer you to that department.”

Some guy from a totally different entity - a different company - answered the phone.

“We are just a parts store. Let me give you that number that you need.” 

He gave me the number. The very first number I called, you understand.

I got a third human being; I was so excited. It was freaking Christmas early.

“Oh, I hope you can help me,” I said. I felt the need to tell the man everything that had happened in the last 50 minutes. It was cathartic.

“Sure I can help you!”

Ahhh, I could breathe again. The sweet smell of success circled around my head.

“Let me transfer you to that department.”

The potion had been drunk and I was now Dr. Jekyl.


“But ma’am, I am not the one who can help you. Just let me transfer you.”


“One moment, please.”

I was transported, once again, to the very first prompt.

Touché, Mr. Tech Guy.

I could take no more. I changed out of my pajamas, told my sick-with-a-virus son, Cowboy, to get dressed, and we were off to the local store where we bought the darn thing in the first place. Even though they don’t “send back equipment for replacements anymore,” they assured me they would fill out the on-line work order for me.

The angel at the counter could sense my mental state. She was my Obi-Wan. She used the Force, and in three quick business days, the replacement was on my doorstep. How great was this?

My husband, Flash, opened it and started syncing it (see, I can use technical terms appropriately). But, Houston, we had a problem. The Wi-Fi was faulty. It only had two bars, and I was contemplating the bar down the street.

I knew better than to call.

This time, I sang a few lines of “I Am Woman” and decided to do a “live chat” with a technician on line. Whew! This would be a breeze.

The first technician ended the session when I clicked on “Call your agent” to reach him by phone. The Tech Guy from the week before had probably put the word out on the street about me.

The second technician was friendly. I had hope. She directed me to a link to fill out a form. I was shaky at best, but gave it a shot. It was like the automated phone call, only I could see the steps being repeated over and over and over….

The third technician was just right. Perfection in the cyberworld. She remoted into my computer and changed my life.

At last, it was done. I told her how she had rescued me from a night of despair. She had saved me from jumping out of the window of my one-story house. She was a human anti-depressant. 

The next time we get a cute, loveable puppy, her name will be Christina D.

As an old-school girl in a high-tech world, I still prefer humans beings to automation. But I'm coming to terms with the 21st century. And I’ll get by with a little help from my Tech Friends, too.