Jo Ann Jaacks: Out of control

Imagine a world where your computer ignored your attempt to post a funny thing your cat did, then refused to allow you to open your email, and finally, took over the monitor screen with gibberish.

Imagine that, after pushing a multitude of buttons, my usual modus operandi to fix computer glitches, the screen turned navy blue with one word in the middle: “Restarting.” That actually seemed encouraging, so I was sufficiently confident to dress and leave the house since I had an event to cover.

Pretend you had a night out with a friend and came home very late so you assumed that Microsoft, or whatever entity was now in command, would be true to its word and actually clear all this up in the AM, so you didn’t even look at the computer.

In late morning, a quick check at the screen revealed that neither Microsoft nor whatever other evil entity was running the show, after eight hours of navy blue screen and one word in the middle, had lied about restoration of any kind and still had my computer in its grip.

After expressing some bad words, I took the only action I could - call my tech hero, who lives close by, and say “Help!” He has taken on several lesser challenges with ease. When he came in the door, his first words, or maybe second or third, who remembers these things, were “I’ve been waiting for six months to get my new car! There are global chip shortages causing big problems for car makers.”

My first thought was what my husband would say in these circumstances: “Is anyone going to die from this?” I bit my tongue and effusively thanked him for coming on short notice, and commiserated with his new car situation. My second thought was “Is my computer missing a chip?” Again, with the tongue biting lest he think I am missing a chip.

I sat down and tried to keep quiet as he zoomed through a dizzying array of movements on my computer, explaining to me along the way what was going on. All I could think of was that I had two deadlines for stories looking me in the eye; or rather, unable to look me in the eye. Yes, I had my notes, but without the photos and ability to send a message to my editor, that was of little use.

If ever there were an aha moment, that was it. Of course, my hero got everything up and smoothly running very quickly. But imagine a world where there was no tech hero coming to the rescue. I shudder to think about it. Also, I now hate Navy blue.