If you read this blog and don’t read Hamel’s, you’re missing a good thing.
I try to keep my writing style grammatical with some good vocabulary words from time to time. I also try to throw in some humor and a casual, conversational feel. Hamel just writes well.
Check out his poignant recent post entitled “Fear and Trembling.” In it he discusses his desire to keep his young sons at a place where they feel they need him. If that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye or otherwise evoke emotions, then… Well, it will.
That said; I want to tell you about a phone call I received last night. It was Christina. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that’s my older daughter whose real first name is Joy, and who recently moved to Florida with her husband and their son—my only grandchild.
(She’ll kill me when she reads this, but it’s not intended to ridicule.)
“Dad, I’m having computer problems. Can you help?”
“Maybe. I’ll try. Whatcha got?”
“I hooked up the computer and printer and everything, and I’m trying to print 4 documents but they won’t print.”
“Well, what happens when you select ‘print’ and hit ‘OK’?”
“Is the printer turned on?”
“Da-a-ad! DUH! Of course the printer’s turned on.” (Then, in a patronizing tone) “And yes, it’s plugged in. There’s a little green light on the front that tells me it’s got power.”
“OK. I hate to ask dumb questions, but is the cable between the computer and the printer plugged in right?”
(Exasperation) “Yeeees. But I’ll check it again.” (Sounds of things being bumped and moved in the background while she keeps talking) “I clicked on this little printer icon on my screen, and then went through this HORRIBLE ‘troubleshooter’ routine that had me try everything you can imagine, but nothing did any good, and then… Wait. Something’s happening… OMIGOSH! The printer is spewing out paper fast. But it’s not printing anything… Wait, now it’s printing something.”
(There’s a slight pause before she continues) “I wiggled the end of the cable that’s plugged into the printer and it felt like it went in farther. Now it’s printing pages with nothing on them but three lines of… Question marks? Yeah, just nothing but question marks. What is this all about? Is it ever going to stop?”
Stifling laughter, I told her to turn off the printer power switch before she wastes any more paper or ink. When it stops, she asked me, “Why was it just printing question marks.”
I couldn’t resist, so I told her, “Well, obviously it didn’t know what you wanted it to do so it was trying to ask you.”
Then I explained that probably when she went through each of those troubleshooting steps the program tried to get the printer to print a test page of some sort, and it was now trying to respond to all of those stored commands.
I had her clear her print queue before turning the printer back on. Everything now worked perfectly.
(Joy, I’m NOT making fun of you! Anybody could have plugged in that cable and not pushed it together quite hard enough.)
So even thought my daughters are in their 30 (plus or minus), they still call Mom and Dad for advice, help, and just general support from time to time.
And Hamel’s right; it does feel nice.
(Joy, call again ANY time. Please! I mean it.)