Monday should always start with a comatose computer

Frustrated_man_at_a_desk_(cropped) Sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, my computer slipped from its normal “sleep mode” and into a deep coma. This became apparent after hitting the space bar and getting no reaction whatsoever, not counting a low-pitched whirring sound that — if I didn’t know better — I could swear was snoring.

Realizing there might be a serious problem, I gathered all of my computer troubleshooting experience and, over the course of the next 10 minutes, applied that experience by hitting the space bar no less than 400 times. When that didn’t work, I unplugged the computer and plugged it back in. Tried a different outlet. Switched keyboards. Wiggled my mouse. Considered finding a different occupation, preferably one involving explosives. I eventually realized the only thing left to do was call the Help Line listed in the service manual and hope someone there could either (a) talk me through this or (b) talk me down should our conversation move to the rooftop.

As expected, I was greeted by an automated voice telling me, in that creepy robot word-splice tone, that my call was important to “them” and to please hold until the next representative became available.


You for.

Your patience.

Next came the music, a collection of Michael Bolton, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston standards re-mixed — I’m guessing — by either John Tesh or Yanni to keep people on-hold from growing impatient. This is little like trying to talk a suicidal jumper off the ledge by giving them a pogo stick. Making matters worse, I was reminded every 30 seconds — by that same creepy robot voice — that my call was “very important to ‘them’” and to remain holding for the next available representative.

Again thank.

You for.

Your patience.

When my service representative broke the line 20 minutes later asking for my computer’s serial number, I was unprepared. Not just because it was the first unsynthesized human voice I’d heard in nearly 30 minutes, but also because I didn’t have the serial number ready. That’s when “Chaz” told me I could easily find the number by going to my computer and — very carefully — turning it upside down. Upon hearing these helpful instructions I cocked my head to one side and, while pinning the phone against my shoulder, fought off an aneurism. I was then instructed to call back when I had the serial number readily available, to which I replied I was “readily available” to catch a flight to Atlanta and strangle him with a USB cord unless he waited for me to flip my computer over and read him the number.

After entering the serial number into his data bank, he informed me all the hardware was still under warranty. However, I needed to pay $45 in order for the service call to continue. I thanked him for his time and, before hanging up, told him how much I was looking forward to having a glass of sweet tea when I got Atlanta with my USB cord.

My next move was to take my computer to an approved repair service located 60 miles away. The up side is that I could deal with real humans. The down side is that driving there would cost about as much as following up on my threat and actually flying to Atlanta. After careful consideration, I decided to stay here. That’s because, the way my luck was going, “Chaz” was probably a 260-lb Martial Arts champion whose passion for the sport began when his wife left him for a loudmouthed humor columnist.

Even if I got my computer fixed, what good would it do if I had to type everything with my tongue?

So, as of today, my computer is still in the shop. According to the repair guy they’re just waiting for a new “logic board” to arrive which, well…

Makes sense, I guess?

In the meantime, I’ll continue working on a back-up computer that is too old to handle things like getting on the Internet, updating my blog, or performing any function in under 10 minutes. I hope to have my computer back in a few days.

Until then:


You for.

Your patience.

(You can write to Ned at, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

44 thoughts on “Monday should always start with a comatose computer”

  1. Aww, LOL! So sorry – computer issues are a PAIN!!! Hey, while you’re in Atlanta committing murder (or getting murdered), come say “hi”, won’t you?
    Loved this post, btw. Made me laugh. 😀

    1. Thanks, Valerie! Yeah, I’m limping along with a “spare,” aka, a bookend in our newsroom. Hope to be back up to speed (a relative term here) by this afternoon or tomorrow. I actually lived in Atlanta for several years in the early 1990s, in Austell, which is about 20 minutes outside of Atlanta. I really loved it there. So much history. But my recent attempted murder charge limits my travel 😉

      1. Oh, yeah I know Austell! My husband lived there for a few years a long time ago! Plus, we go to Six Flags most summers, so we briefly “visit”. 🙂

          1. Hardly! It’s overgrown with rollercoasters, though! I want know when they are going to add moving sidewalks to the place…

              1. LOL! I’m getting more fearful the older I get (and dizzy-er!) but I do still like many of the coasters. Not the new, huge ones, though! O_O

  2. Technology was, and still is, my first love/hate relationship.
    Remember when the computer slips into a coma it’s almost alway is a sign to move on. Using extraordinary measures just to extend his/her life is more for you than for them.

    PS-while waiting on the logic board is…logical of course, I’d investigate Dr Kevorkian’s current location.

    1. Hahaha! I like the analogy C 🙂 And I’m sure you’re right; it’s probably time to just pull the plug. My fear is the unknown, i.e., what piece of s#@t I will be given as a replacement.

  3. My husband knows nothing about computers.

    Zip. Nada. Zero.

    So one morning, after hitting the space bar 47 times and getting no response (not even a snore-y whirring sound) from the computer, HE WOKE ME UP (Grrr… I am a grouchy bear when I first wake up, let’s remember) to predict Armageddon and lambaste the poor quality of electronic equipment these days and spout off about Microsoft.

    When I was finally able to gather, from all this indirect complaining, that the computer wasn’t working, I stumbled into the office to take a bleary-eyed look at the malfunctioning machine.

    I sat down at the desk.

    I looked at the monitor.

    I looked at the tower.

    I turned them both ON.

    And I went back to bed.

    And later that day, when he knew it was safe to approach…

    He thanked.

    Me for.

    My patience.

    Profusely. And in very creative ways. 😉

  4. i feel your pain, ned. . . . isn’t there some kind of revolution we could throw together to eliminate automated answering machines and all corporations that are allowed to imprison people that way? you know people, i know people, they all know people. . . . let’s all get together on a solution for these situations. we could be saving lives in the process.

    1. Sorry, that response was a software glitch on my Commodore replacement computer. We definitely should form a think tank to solve this situation. I’ve called everyone I know. I’ll get back to you just as soon as I’m no longer on hold…

  5. I remember well when my computer made it’s first non-computer sound. I was looking up Japan on google (It was after that massive earthquake a couple of years ago, and I wanted to see it’s neighboring countries). I pressed click, and then it went black. But the most disturbing part was the pig like oink it let out! It scared not only me but my entire office! I learned never to look up educational knowledge at work, and dedicate my time on illegal sites to see movies. 🙂

    1. HAHAHA! An “oink” sound, huh? I’m a bacon lover, but that would freak me out. I can’t imagine what kind of site your co-workers must’ve thought you were on!

      1. It was the loudest oink ever! Imagine pulling a pigs tail for 5 seconds, that’s the kind of oink that came out. Tech support asked me if it really was Japan that I was looking for, thank goodness my supervisor saw that I really did search for Japan.

        1. I’m wiping tears from my eyes right now…! I honestly can’t think of a worse noise that could’ve come out of your computer 🙂 Ok, I guess I could, but still…

    1. That’s very generous 🙂 But it appears the “logic board’ will do the trick. However, if THAT goes bad, I will have to travel to the planet Vulcan for repairs.

  6. With prices the way they are now I’m not sure its a good idea even bothering to fix it. I just priced out a decent name-brand laptop with a 4-year warranty and the bill was under $700. Good to go for 4 years, why not?

  7. I would’ve never made it past the twenty minute mark. I don’t have enough patience. I’m actually impressed that you to talk to a human and not a robot. Though Chaz did want to charge you $45.00 for the service call. Maybe we’re in the wrong industry?

    1. You know, I told my publisher the same thing. She nodded her head, smiled and told me to get out of her office. In spite of her subtlety, I can tell the answer is “no.”

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