I’ll bet tech support dudes just love it when I call
To any qualified professional telephone technical support person, I am 'That guy.' The one who has a problem, but can't really describe it. The one who has less knowledge of the technology at hand than Ivanka Trump has about shoes costing less than $600. The one who says 'What? Huh?' when asked what computer operating system he's using. The one who -- like just last night -- has a maximum mouthful of pretzel mash when the support person finally comes on after 18 minutes of me listening to a recorded voice saying, 'We're experiencing a larger volume of calls than normal.' No, you're not. You're just too tight to pay enough staffers. Don't lie to me.
I wasn't lying last night when I called my internet television service provider to report a problem I was having with tuning in to live, local stations. I have Hulu -- for which I pay $58 every month to do something I know nothing about to deliver to my living room TV a steady flow of choice programming -- and it usually works fine, and if it doesn't, I give my son that vacant adult stare that tells him I've either flushed the cat again or am having difficulties with some device that's more complicated than the toaster.
Bread. Push lever. Hot. Yeah, I get that one.
But not the TV, which I haven't understood since the days of bent tinfoil-wrapped rabbit ears, vertical hold control knobs and Sunday evening Hee Haw. Ben signed me up for Hulu, he installed it, he troubleshoots it, and he patiently says 'Gawd, you're a dunce' every time I call him at his apartment in a panic screaming 'I can't find Mike & Molly!' Well, I used to call 911, but it turns out emergency law enforcement dispatchers aren't real interested in finding Mike & Molly for me, but they will toss me in the hoosegow next to some meth dealers if I ever call again. I won't.
So Ben couldn't help me over the phone last night, and he suggested I call that 888 number that Hulu buries deep within the fine print of its web site in hopes that you'll get angry and shoot the TV rather than call them.
No luck, for them, and I got through, eager to solve my troubles until the support dude asked me what I needed, 'Well,' I started, 'Everything worked good last night, but now it don't. Fix it.'
I couldn't fathom why he would need more information, so I was miffed when he begin questioning me like I was a suspect in a triple homicide case.
'What type of TV do you have?'
'A black one,' I said.
'No, what model?'
'It's not a model. It's a real one.'
He moved on.
'Are you using a Firestick as your supported device?'
'You mean like a Sparkler? Oh, no, I only play with those on the Fourth of July.'
'No, sir, how do you control your television?'
'Oh, I don't. It rather controls me. You know, news at 6, then Wheel of Fortune. And say, isn't Vanna looking old?'
The tech dude decided he'd take a different route, and asked me to fire up my laptop computer to see if I could reach my accounts page.
'Enter your e-mail address,' he said.
I met his request by awkwardly trying to type in my email address with one hand while balancing the device on my lap and holding a slippery phone between my cheek and shoulder, during which time the tech dude was probably thinking his children were growing up and getting ready to leave for college while he was waiting on the line for a chunky middle-aged buffoon in Wisconsin to type 'muppetshowfan63' into his web browser. We had to go through that again with the password, and once finally in, we determined that all the settings were fine and that my bill was paid and that I hadn't showered yet over the weekend. Well, he couldn't tell, but I saw my reflection in the Chromebook screen. Yikes. Good thing this wasn't a LiveChat with a Scratch 'n Sniff option.
Anyway, after some tinkering on his end, the tech support guy said, 'Huh. It should be working.'
Now I'm only slightly less technologically literate than your average Holstein dairy cow, but even I could have surmised that 'it should be working.' In fact, had I figured 'it shouldn't be working,' I probably wouldn't have called tech support in the first place because, well, what would be the point? I mean, I don't tow my car to the garage and tell the mechanic, 'Just leave it set there. It shouldn't be running.'
After more impersonal conversation -- he never once asked me about my opinions on birth certificate gender assignment -- we struck upon a factor that might be the root cause of my problem. Just the day before, see, my old Samsung laptop computer croaked, so I went out and bought me a brand-spankin' new HP Chromebook, and believe this one or not -- got it up and runnin' all by my lonesome. Well, no, I don't blame you. Me neither. Whodda thunk it? So now, though, when I explained that I had some difficulty with my Hulu service just after switching from the old Samsung to the new Chromebook, the tech guy mumbled something about account location data and 'overriding the system' and that maybe yet he'd be able to get this yutz off the line before dawn.
'There,' he finally said. 'Try it now.'
Lo and behold, there they were, all my usual channels, the universe's order restored, Mike & Molly in all their comedic glory. I thanked the tech support dude for his efforts and was gonna ask if he'd like to stop by sometime for a dinner of Beefaroni, but I think maybe he was running to his supervisor's office to turn in his badge and sob, 'I can't waste my life like this anymore. '
Back in my living room, all was well, my Hulu service was providing me with all my favorite entertainment, my new Chromebook was sitting on the end table all nice and shiny and not even slimed up with Cheetoh fingerprints yet. The Mike & Molly episode was the one in which Mike finally get to meet his aunt, but it turns out, she's not as sticky sweet as she seems. They never are.