The black screen of death!


My heart started racing and I felt an annoying ache starting to build in the back of my skull. My laptop wouldn’t turn on. I got a blank, black screen.

I went into executive mode. I immediately started to rework my plans for the next day. I had scheduled a vacation day with the idea of using it as a mental health day. I figured I’d sit down to write a little, maybe tackle a couple minor chores, like getting my haircut, and use the rest of the day to chill out. With the laptop on the fritz, I immediately threw those plans out the window. I would still work out in the morning and then I would take the laptop to the store to get it fixed.

(I thought about immediately calling the support phone number that I had been given when I bought the laptop, but it was already late and I was frustrated. I didn’t want to put myself in an even worse mood by staying up past my bed time, waiting on hold for an IT support person.)

My laptop is relatively new, but I still feared for the worst. I figured I had lost the blog I had been working on the past couple of days. I feared too that I might need to go without the laptop for a few days. We count on technology so much today. It was annoying to think about having to go without.

I started to work through possible fixes, what I thought might be the problem, and the most concise way to explain my problem to the support representative to make the best use of my time.

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Maybe I can help

My wife heard my swearing and asked if she could help. I wasn’t a complete jerk, but it wasn’t one of my finer moments. “Sure, whatever you want, but the problem looks pretty serious.” In retrospect, could I have blown her off anymore? I don’t think so.

My wife took the laptop with her to the other room. I went back to cleaning my desk, moping like a spoiled brat over my “bad luck.” A few minutes later, my wife came running back into the room, the laptop miraculously working again.

What had been wrong? What did she do to fix the laptop? What had she done that I hadn’t? We’re not sure, but everything was back to normal. My laptop came back on and was working like nothing had ever been wrong.

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All’s well that ends well

My vacation day had been saved. My sanity too. Okay, okay, getting my laptop back doesn’t equate to bringing about global peace or nuclear disarmament in our lifetime, but it’s still important in my little world.

My lesson from this near catastrophe:

  • Technology can be unpredictable, it’s a fact of life, you need a sense of humor. A deep sense of humor.
  • Life is full of the best-laid plans, patience and a good back-up plan are a must.
  • Keep your composure. Remember it could always be worse. Tech problems are only unbearable if you see them that way.
  • You need to keep the number for the IT support within arms-reach. In the event of losing the number, it helps to have my wife.

In any event, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. When I have laptop problems in the future, I have a new plan of attack: I’m throwing the laptop in the trash and going back to using pen and paper.

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