Evangelical Tech Support
Take, if you will, a brief glimpse into my mechanical psyche. In high school, we talked about the waves that would be sweeping the future of technology. DVD's. It was going to be fantastic. And they had just made the internet accessible in schools that year. It took us a whole class just to load the browser page. This was a time of 5 lb. cell phones with 6ft. long antennae and it cost $3/minute to talk. This was a time where 'technical tap with a baseball bat' was still a common practice. Today, I find myself using the same method, but with less effectiveness. After I ran over my cell phone once, I managed to turn it on by beating the hell out of it (this also doubles as punishment for the car for running over the cellular.) Then I proceeded to MacGyver an antennae out of two earrings and a safety pin. This proved to be an advancement from the 1990's as well as more fashionable. But apart from cell phone snafus, my mechanical expertise is not extensive.
So now I'm back staring at my computer whose only form of communication is in two words, ‘not responding.’ I'm not sure what else to try. I've patiently drummed on it, I've spoken nicely, begged, pleaded, threatened and bribed it to work. Over the last few months, I have made many phone calls to tech support. But beyond talking about the weather in Texas for six hours, I didn't really get anywhere. All my computer will do is utter those two damn words.
‘Not responding’ is a very passive stance that I am beginning to resent. To me, this attitude is vernacular only to the British Guard on duty. Not a computer. You would think with all of the competition between computer companies, one would develop a higher standard of virtual customer service. I try to press for a response. Fortunately for me, ctrl, Alt, Delete has been universal for decades. A glimmer of response flickers onto the screen, yet only to seize up the works and require a reboot. This has to be technologies way of hitting the snooze. But I was on a deadline! I had no time for my computer’s antics. I'm rebooting like hell, it starts, shuts down, restarts, but before my computer fully wakes up it needs to pee, take a shower, and grab a cup of coffee to open it's lazy desktop to the world.
Computers are like most men I've ever had to deal with in the mornings. They'd prefer to be invisible to the world for at least an hour after they have woken up. Sometimes I would rather they were, and save us from watching them groggily scratch their balls for 20 minutes.
If computers were women, they'd be up and scanned, organized and making your bed before your first cup of Joe. But then, if you didn't use her for a day she would feel neglected and become wounded and useless just to spite you. But sex doesn't matter when you're broken...
I needed help, but where do you go when all allopathic remedies have failed? It dawned on me that this sexless redheaded stepchild needed more than I could provide. Nearing the end of my rope, I went out to the backyard fence to seek some advice from my next-door neighbors. We chatted pleasantly about the gas prices and the weather before I fed them my tech worries. The lovely, blue-haired couple patted my hand and gave me a pamphlet. I would have to seek assistance through alternative healing...
Directions on the back of a pamphlet took me to a large field not too far from the city. Out of the earth grew crosses. "So this is where they come from?" I thought. "Who said Jesus' seed wasn't fertile?" Cars surrounded a giant white dome like tent. This tent that could solve all of my problems. Perhaps not the divine mushroom itself, but maybe its inhabitants. I carried my wounded soldier to the tent carefully weaving through the cars towards the plume of Christianity. Songs and praise filled my ears the closer I got. "Hallelujah!" and "Praise him!" wafted in the field. What the hell was I doing? How did I ever come to the rationalization that this might be a good idea?
As I crested the threshold of the heavenly canopy, glory rang in my head. There were hundreds of people wielding appliances, singing, tremmoring and rejoicing in their faith. A woman with exuberant platinum hair and even more exuberant breasts bounced over to me. "Welcome to the Holy Divinity Church of Bert! We are so blessed to see you and your poorly afflicted PC. This is a blessed congregation that gives love and praise to all things both living and mechanical. Through the power of the the Holy Spirit, our appliance’s sins are forgiven and healed! I'm Angel, we are so blessed to have you here."
I looked at the front of the tent to see a stage, shaking from the screams and giant speakers. There was a man set to the side, playing a small keyboard. His little synthesizer was set to 'Organ' which made it slightly appropriate, despite the sample samba beat behind his song. No one noticed the irony.
At about this point, I realized that I had been holding my breath since I entered the holy house. Maybe it was fear of breaking out in hives or inhaling a ghastly holy scent, but finally I convinced myself it is better to breath it in than to be hauled off to the sidelines with the other passed out folks. "In just a few moments" Angel continued, "Brother Bert will arrive to share his divine calling with us. We are working on his canonization right now. If it is passed he will be Bert, the patron Saint of Appliances." Oh sweet Jesus, you have got to be kidding me. Nevertheless, I was intrigued.
"How long ago did Bert receive his calling?" I asked.
"I'm so glad you asked!" Angel delighted in my interest.
"Well Bert used to own an appliance repair shop and, well, he just wasn't very good at what he did. Until one day, he was working in his shop and he had a screw driver in a toaster, and in an instant, the light of the Holy Lord Jesus Christ himself ignited his soul, and ever since that day he has been given the gift to 'repair through prayer'!" She jiggled excitedly.
I made a mental note to myself, 'if someone hasn't written Lightening Rods for Dummies, I could be rich.' I was organizing a mental outline of my future cash cow when the tent became still. I shut my brain up so no one could hear it laughing uncontrollably.
A fog machine farted out sweet smoke and Technicolor lights parried and trusted through the cloud. A captivating voice boomed through the hazy silence.
"Brothers and sisters gathered here, we are so blessed to have you, but now please raise your hands up to the Heavens and let's praise Him with the help of Brother Bert!" Holy noise pollution erupted from the pews. The crowd couldn't contain itself as Brother Bert hopped onto the stage. Brother Bert was short and he was round and he was red from ear to ear. The remnants of his hair lay obediently on his forehead thanks to Guido Grease and a headset microphone. He wore a white suit with gold lame suspenders. You could tell in a former life he was less concerned with his ass hanging out. In one hand he held a Holy Bible and in the other a cross--dipped in rhinestones. He strode around the large stage that winced with each of his heavy footsteps. He deeply inhaled the praise and then reciprocated by belching out a loud roar. This was God's funny little pet.
The praise went on for another 20 minutes. I was a little surprised with the endurance and stamina that God gave these people. In my house as soon as you hear, "oh, God!" it's off to the kitchen for a sandwich and then sleep. This astounding experience somewhat challenged my previous discrimination of the revival folk. The shock and awe of the spectacle became more and more apparent with every ear crushing boom of rejoicing.
Brother Bert grabbed a towel, and wiped off his lobsteresque face. Looking reverently at the cross and the Bible, he kissed each one (with more passion than I am accustomed or comfortable with) before placing them neatly on the podium and raised the antennae on his headset to quiet the crowd. Then he began, "My dear bruthaws and sistaws! You have come today to praise Jeezus in thu’ name of the Lowad!" His voice was low, dripping with southern antiquity.
"Hallelujah!" Parishioners chimed in.
Brotha Burt pressed on, "We gathu’ today to cast away the demons of technawledgy! To rid them of temptationah! To send the ghost of the Holy Spirit through the gagetry and aid them and give them peace! So, when their final day comesah and they return to that Holy Manufacturer in the skyah, he will look upawn them and saya, 'You awa pewah!'" Another roar burst from his lips concurrently with the crowd. People frantically waved blenders and toasters in the air. A CPU was flung up into the air, only to be caught inches from some ones blessed VCR.
"Nawa,whut we need to stawat this healing is a cawling from the Holy Spirit. Awa very own Sistuh Angel will receive a wuhd frum the Lawad"
"Let me be your arrow Lord!" The pneumatic Angel hollered next to me.
Brother Bert continued, "Yeyas, and with Sistuh Angel's help, we will find the most in need of redemptionah." Angel swayed and mumbled just before grabbing my arm and thrusting my broken down laptop towards the Heavens.
My PC was set on a gurney and rolled to the stage. I half expected it, given the circumstances, to start drooling and twitching. I was grudgingly pulled along to follow my slab of plastic and wires. Holy minions gently placed it in front of Brother Bert, who was intensely concentrating on the machine. I stood on the ground next to the stage. Brother Bert's red face then turned towards on my own red face. "Tell us whutcho' name is sistuh."
An overly helpful, holy servant shoved a microphone up my nose. "Ummm, er, Rose." I stammered. I didn't know you needed a bachelor’s degree in public speaking for this. The experience had me blushing and stammering more than I am almost willing to admit. Almost.
"Welcome Sistuh Rose to awa congregation, why to you bring this PC to us todayah?" he asked.
Brother Bert and his milieu of hundreds all stared at me. Unfortunately for me all I had was a crappy Associates Degree in Panic Attacks. Stammering more, I tried to explain, "Well, it's just a pretty lame computer. It freezes up, doesn't respond and the mouse is sticky." It's the same thing that I told tech support 12 times already.
"Awlrightthen, whut do we say y'all?" Bert the Pure prompted the crowd.
"Repair with prayer!" Gushed the torrent of voices. The swarm of people raised their arms, outstretched towards the stage. Helping holy hands, thousands of digits shooting love and faith.
Bert walked over to his cross, made of bling and, like a switchblade, a screwdriver sprang from the bottom. The outstretched hands began to sway and their owners mumbled, "repair through prayer, repair through prayer, repair through prayer..."
Bert moaned. "Mah children, my bruthus and sistuhs, let us pray for the salvation of this poor crippled PC. We exorcise the demonic Trojans and cookies and awl utha devices of temptation that have done this devil’s work on this innocent hawddrive." The chanting became stronger and more passionate.
"Mah friends, raise your hands and join me as we purify the cognitry of this holy device. Let awa prayers reach the Lowad and let him find it within his heart to heal this computah and resto’ it back to your Almighty Manufacturah’s settings! Help up give redemption to its netwuhking systems from the demonic corruptionah sent by Satan hisself!"
Sweat beads began to fly from the man's jowls. Each muscle was quivering on his beet red face. I looked around to see if there were Paramedics on standby, but the only thing in my scope was a sea of hands sending waves of salvation to my little PC. The throbbing crowd was yelling on high, "Repair through prayer! Repair through prayer! REPAIR THROUGH PRAYER!!!!"
Brother Bert shook with intention, gripping his Swiss army cross tightly and held it high. The deafening calls and blessed hands all focused for this lame little PC.
The chaos sent the tent flaps fluttering, shaking. I wondered if the whole tent would come down. As if the cacophony had been challenged, a thundering roar ruptured my eardrums once again. I began to get dizzy, becoming consumed by the crushing waves of technological prayer, sweat and heat. I had to hold onto the pulpit to keep from losing my grip—on reality (if there really was one), on my cynicism and my skepticism. No use. The spinning continued. I groaned, albeit hesitantly. Just before I surrendered to the evangelical force of the moment, Brother Bert with his chintzy cross, violently swung through the air and--
Holy shit. The technical-muthuh-effing-tap. Never in a million years would I have thought the technical tap as a sacrosanct practice. Silence wafted in the air and for a minute Brother Bert looked pale and gaunt. All eyes were on the laptop. Is it dead? Maybe just maimed? There was not a breath taken in the hallowed tent. Then, a tiny 'click' crested the lips of my closed computer. Is there hope? Do I dare look?
Then, all at once a heavenly light shone down and my laptop burst open, hopped around on it's corners and spun in circles before gently setting itself down to defrag. People and gadgets alike detonated in praise and joy. Blenders whirred, toasters smoked, people cried and hugged one another. And there amidst the raucous, a quiet Brother Bert looked down at the rejuvenated apparatus knowing that the Almighty God had channeled through him to rescue such a deserving piece of equipment.
That night when I got home I snuggled my computer back into its desk and turned it on. It purred as I pet it. Sure, there might be a few rhinestones embedded in the top, but it was given the tap of Holy love and compassion towards all electronic devices. Be it a little electric shaver, or a 70-inch plasma screen TV, each deserved redemption. This was a pure computer. I smiled and whispered, “Thank you Brother Bert.” How could a man do something so magnificent? And think that the miracle was related to something divine? Maybe my computer really did deserve salvation. Maybe.
My deadline flashed before my eyes, I had to get working. Tucking my experience of Brother Bert back into my mind, I set to the task. My computer was working faster than ever. Amazing! As I went to print out my presentation, I sighed. Maybe there wasn’t really anything wrong with my computer after all. Probably not. The problem was probably all in my head. At that moment, the printer coughed. It sputtered and farted a piece of paper at me. No! The printer spurted paper, eating it bit by bit.Then it began to lurch and sputter more, coughing and spitting paper in every which way. Devious cognitry…..