Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Help Desk

Back in the day when I worked at a big company, we had actual departments filled with people who fixed things like our computers. For some reason, we called that whole department the “Help Desk.” (Hey, don’t blame me; I wasn’t in charge of naming departments.) But I loved the Help Desk. They were my favorite people in the whole company. Well, right after the Paycheck Lady who came around every Friday and handed me money.

But whenever our computers messed up, we’d blame little gremlins. The Help Desk would tell us to do a basic analysis, which meant we were supposed to turn off the computer and then turn it back on.

If that didn’t work and the gremlins were still at work preventing our computers from functioning, we simply called the Help Desk back and they’d come to our rescue and would solve the problem. Those guys could fix anything. On the rare occasion when the gremlins got the best of them, the Help Desk guys would take our computer away and then bring us a new one that worked perfectly.

Did I mention that I loved the Help Desk?

Nowadays I work at a small company and we don’t have “departments” let alone a department called the Help Desk. We don’t even have a Help Person. Instead, we have a graphics guy. He’s our resident computer expert and that is only because he can go at least one step beyond turning-the-computer-off-and-back-on.

I miss the Help Desk.

So our Internet was down at work the other morning. Crack computer expert that I am, I knew that it wasn’t a problem with my computer specifically because nobody else in our office could access the Internet either.

But that was as far as I got. Eventually, I learned that the German Village area was having slow or no Internet connectivity.

So that meant that all morning I was at a loss. I’d start to check to see the last time a customer ordered – but then realized I couldn’t access the program since it’s online. Or I’d remember I needed to send an email to my coworkers about something – only I couldn’t send emails. Telling four people individually the news I wanted to share seemed monumentally tedious and repetitious.

Oh how we have changed in our communication delivery methods. Communicating face-to-face? Pshaw. Who does that anymore? (Thanks, Steve Jobs.)

Not only was the Internet down at work, but the night before we were again having computer problems at home. Darn gremlins. I had a photo I wanted to print, but couldn’t access my email to download it. I went upstairs to my computer and it was somehow connected to the Internet, but I don’t have a printer upstairs and I’m not connected to the printer downstairs. And, no, I don’t have any idea how to connect to the printer downstairs – don’t even get me started on that!

I’m really starting to re-think my degree in marketing communications and PR. Probably I should’ve gotten a degree in Help Desk. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so frustrated whenever we have Internet and/or computer problems at home. Because my first inclination is to assume the hardware is broken and needs to be replaced. Usually I’m wrong. (Wait. Did I just say that?!)

Nevertheless, it was a lesson in frustration the other night. Vince kept running upstairs to fiddle with the little black boxes and getting more and more frazzled when he couldn’t get the Internet up and running on his computer. Meanwhile, I stayed out of his way and didn’t voice a single complaint. But not being able to check Facebook before heading to bed was a real hardship. What can I say? I’m addicted. (Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg.)

Vince wondered if somehow the cats were playing with the computer wires. Or possibly they heard the word “mouse” and became intrigued and curious? Who knows? But When Vince came downstairs the next morning, he said his mouse and keyboard were on the floor. Twinklebelle was curled up on the couch looking all guileless and innocent. And Jinx was squeaking and standing at attention by her food bowl. Both cats looked at Vince as if they couldn’t imagine how that mouse and keyboard ended up on the floor.

Gremlins, indeed. I think our gremlins might also be known as Twinks and Jinx. And our problems might be solved once we figure out how to keep our computer-related paraphernalia out of reach of little paws. But still. I sure wish I could call the Help Desk.

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