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Thursday, February 24, 2005

No, I will not fix your computer

I’m a computer techie.

Even though I’ve moved beyond the technical work in my day job (into the wonderful world of consulting) I can’t seem to escape it.

I obviously have my own computers that I’m able to keep running nicely with my leet skillz. But, as any other geek can relate to, I am constantly hounded by non-geeks to fix their computers.

It started with my family. My mom and dad are, of course, entitled to ask me to fix their computers. Sure it’s annoying that every time I go to visit my folks, my dad walks in and says “I wonder if you could have a look at my email”. But since they’re my parents, I can’t exactly say no.

Although two of my sisters were smart enough to marry IT geeks, the third one didn’t have that foresight. She runs her own company… although it’s small, it has quite an impressive IT infrastructure, upon which the business is entirely dependant.

The same lack of foresight that led my sister to marry a non-geek has also led her to not employ a single person with any IT savvy. It’s actually sad. I got called out to her office so many times I eventually had to start charging her for my services. Once I did that, she started on-selling my services to her friends and colleagues.

Again, I can’t complain too much… the money I make from my tech-support services is what pays for my HeroClix and Star Trek CCG cards. But I really really don’t enjoy the work.

Someone once told me, “If you stop enjoying what you do, it becomes torture.” And that’s exactly what has happened.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There is a certain level of satisfaction that comes from sorting out a challenging problem with a computer. And if someone I’m close to is having computer troubles, I’d rather they bring it to me first than Indelible Corruption.

What I object to is being taken for granted.

A few months ago, a good friend of mine asked if I would take a look at a friend’s computer for her. Now she had mentioned this friend before… apparently she was single, attractive and lived close to me. I figured my buddy was trying to set me up with a friend of hers and the computer fixing thing was just the pretext, so I agreed.

No such luck. Next time I saw my friend, she took me to her car, handed me a PC box and sent me on my way. No discussion of meeting the machine’s owner, no discussion of payment… just “Monkey, fix computer!”

It happened again last night at choir practice. When we had finished for the evening, one of the young ladies in the choir accosted me with her laptop and a list of problems she wanted me to look at then and there.

It’s because of this kind of thing that I had to buy this t-shirt. Even then, people think I’m kidding.

I’m not a Brain-on-a-stick, dammit!