There are times when I often wonder if I’m doing enough in the world to contribute to the human experience. My job basically focuses on technology and I wonder if I am using my tech powers for the greater good. I think the Universe gave me some hints today about how I’m doing.
This morning I had three internet trouble calls in a row. For the most part it was pretty mundane, routine stuff. The first caller was a man who was waiting for an important software patch to be e-mailed to him. He had thought out servers had swallowed the attachment when actually Outlook Express was denying him access to it because it might be a virus that would be detrimental to the welfare of his Windows system. He assured that it wasn’t, I showed him how to get what was rightfully his, and then he asked me, “Why does Microsoft do that, anyway?” I gave him a brief explanation of the what and why of Microsoft’s thinking and then pointed him in the direction of Mozilla Thunderbird (a free, open-source alternative to Microsoft Oulook Express). He downloaded and installed it while I was on the phone with him and he made the comment that it seemed easier to use. He then thanked me for the information.
My second caller was an elderly woman who was having difficulties getting her e-mail, as she was concerned that she wasn’t getting any from anywhere. I took a peek at her mailbox and saw about 300 messages for viagara and the whatnot, and a few scattered e-mails from someone with the same last name. I relayed the information to her and she perked up and said “those are from my son in Iraq!” I became SuperTech and rid her of the spam, which was clogging up her mailbox and she was able to download the messages from her son. I then went in and adjusted her spam quarantine settings so that she wouldn’t get so many viagara e-mails. “What am I going to do with viagara?” she asked. She told me how much she appreciated my help and went on her way.
The third caller was another elderly woman who told me that she was 80 and didn’t really have much to do but read recipes and search for stuff on Google. She couldn’t get her ancient computer to dial in like it has since it was new seven (!) years ago, so I walked her through her dial-up settings, airing out my rusty knowledge of Windows 95 along the way. Like the previous caller, she was concerned about the spam she was receiving, her comment being “Why would I want to date a black man? I don’t mind that they’re black, but I’m 80 and I can’t keep up with them!”. I sort of chuckled and cranked up her quarantine settings, hoping to thwart of her electronic suitor. I told her to give it a whirl and call back if she had “fur diff else close EOB” (which in trouble ticket talk is shorthand for “further difficulties or we’ll automatically close the ticket at the end of the day”). She called and asked for me about thirty minutes later exclaiming with glee that she was able to dial in and get the recipe for the apple bundt cake she was making for the girls when they come over to visit this weekend. I told her I appreciated the follow up and to have a great weekend. She said, “You too J.P.!”
So I guess I made at least three people smile today. And it feels good.