Computer battles show Murphy’s law

Terrace writer admits frustrations with computer issues and its inconvenient timing

By Claudette Sandecki

Was there ever a live person named Murphy responsible for what we all refer to as Murphy’s law? It would be interesting to link a face with the rule that if things can go wrong, inevitably they will and do.

During my years running an upholstery shop I swore a little green man rode on my sewing machine’s needle, somewhat like a scout perched on the bumper watching for risks to the oil pan while bobbing along a rugged trail full of potholes and rocks.

His mission, to which he was dedicated, seemed to be to magically run out of bobbin thread at the most inopportune time, such as when I was holding together five points of fabric that had taken me minutes to fit together just so, and needed to be stitched together securely and smoothly without leaving a gap.

As I inched closer to the crucial corner, one cautious stitch at a time, the bobbin would begin to rattle announcing thread had run out.

All I could do was release the fabric and watch it scatter, remove the bobbin,wind a refill bobbin, and drop it back into its slot.

Then I’d have to gather the five points of fabric once more, clutch them together, and sew.

Rarely did a bobbin run out of thread while zipping along a plain extended seam where refilling a bobbin would have been but a minor irritant or delay.

That would have blighted the little green man’s shift.

And so it is with this computer.

If it has any intention to act up, it’s bound to pick a Tuesday, beginning late afternoon when the repair shop is soon to close. This leaves me high and dry, unable to compose or send an email.

My 50 year old manual Royal typewriter would be more helpful.

I’m not by nature a violent person but these episodes of computer failure push me as close to contemplating violence as I ever get.

Clicking on every possible solution I can think of, while all that results is a dull ‘plunk’, I list all the common tools and ways I have to bludgeon this machine.

I could smash it with a hammer, topple it off its table and watch it shatter on the floor. If I lived on the second floor above a concrete sidewalk, I could drop it out of the window.

I’m reminded of a story South African comedian Trevor Noah relates in his memoir, “Born a Crime”.

As a teenager in Johannesburg he learned to pirate music from the internet and print CDs which he sold to taxi drivers. Having CDs of the latest pop tunes to serenade passengers increased a taxi driver’s clientele.

With practice Noah and a friend developed a lucrative business providing music for street gatherings when families from one end of the street to the other danced and sang the evening away to his pirated music. A computer was the key component of Noah’s DJ activities.

One evening, thanks to a citizen’s noise complaint, police descended on Noah’s music making and ordered him to shut it down.

To comply he had to shut down one computer program after another. The policeman wasn’t satisfied with the speed of Noah’s compliance and shot the computer monitor.

So ended the young man’s burgeoning DJ career.

Most irksome is diagnosing the trigger for these unresponsive episodes. I make a point of never clicking on appealing but perhaps risky sites, yet with some regularity I begin receiving reams of spam … and then this.

Now to search for an alternate means to transfer this composition into an email that will ‘send’.

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