March 5, 2004

Now Interviewing.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:13 pm

I am currently accepting applications for a job opportunity.

Title of Position: Designated Ass-Kicker

Job Description: The successful candidate will be responsible for giving me a good, swift kick in the ass if I ever, EVER, again even think about bringing the cursed, evil, laptop with me on another business trip.

Yes, I did bring the rotten machine with me to my recent trip to Cali-farookin-fornia. I know that I had previously sworn never to permit the hateful contraption to leave the office again, but I really, really thought that this time I had things wired.

Prior to leaving, I had spent time with the computer gurus making sure that my dial-up profile was in order. I had my new, super-secret password tucked away in a safe place for the trip. I had even confirmed that the Satanic Red Triangle appeared on my toolbar exactly as it was supposed to.

So, on Monday, I disconnected the infernal device from its “port replicator,” (a seriously suspect name for a device, methinks), and did all the unsnapping, unzipping and Velcro ripping to place it in the carrying case along with the tangle of necessary black wires. I made sure that my idiot cards were readily accessible. I was feeling pretty good about myself as I strutted out the door for my cross-country trip.

I got my first taste of what would be in store when I got on the security line at the airport. The last time I took the evil wizgiz with me on a business trip, I drove to my destination, so airport security was not an issue.

“You have to take the computer out of the case, sir,” commanded the TSA employee. This was followed by the rest of the instructions: “Remove your jacket and lay it flat, remove all metal from your pockets, and remove your shoes.”

So, in addition to trying to remove my jacket, eyeglasses, watch, and the change from my pockets, all while trying to continue to “move the line,” I also had to do all the unsnapping, unzipping, and Velcro ripping to expose the beast for the benefit of the TSA employee and its x-ray machine. All this is, of course, was followed by the frantic grab to reclaim my belongings as they emerged in those gray washtubs on those rollers from the other side of the x-ray machine. Once I collected all my stuff I shuffled, shoeless, to a little table to reassemble myself and re-snap, re-zip and re-Velcro everything necessary to make the hateful machine comfortable again.

I carried it onto the plane and tucked it safely under the seat in front of mine for the duration of the flight. I had briefly considered dragging it out on the plane to do something with it. After all, other people who obviously were friends with their laptops were doing just that. As much as I wanted to be like them, I just didn’t have another round of snapping, zipping and Velcroing in me. Besides, the guy in front of had immediately reclined his seat all the way so that the back of his seat seemed to be about two inches from my nose (I always sit behind that guy). I, therefore, opted to wait for my arrival to the hotel room to unsheathe the Compaq beast.

Upon arriving in San Fran-farookin-cisco, I carted the alien creature along with my real luggage to the Car Rental Center, and carefully loaded it into the rental car for the trip to my ultimate destination.

When I finally arrived at my hotel room, I immediately inspected the desk area to see whether it had all the right stuff. The news was good. Not only did it have the right stuff (outlets, phone jack, etc.), but the stuff was positioned high on the wall, which would save me from crawling up to hook the disgusting contraption up.

I took a cleansing breath or two and got down to business.

I again unsnapped, unzipped and Velcro-ripped my way to the cyber monster and removed it from its nest. I untangled the beast’s black umbilicals and plugged the power umbilical into the wall. Snap. Next came the communication umbilical. Snap.

I had Power!!!!!! Excellent.

I couple whirrs and burps later, I saw, “Enter Your User Name and Password.” I dutifully followed the instructions. Yes!!!! The screen contained all my usual stuff, including the Satanic Red Triangle!!! I began to feel downright giddy about it all.

With the first of my two Idiot Cards at the ready, I worked the mouse over to the Satanic Red Triangle and clicked on it (even though pressing that dumb button on the keyboard does not feel much like a “click” to me). Another screen opened, which said, “Enter your Entrust User Name and Password.” I entered my Entrust user name and my newly assigned Entrust password – a dizzying display of upper and lower case letters, mixed in with numbers and other things. I clicked OK.

This was the “make or break” moment.

I watched the little hourglass as it remained on the screen for too long – much too long. I began to sweat. “This can’t be happening again.”

The defiant hourglass finally was replaced by, “Unable to connect… Blah, blah, blah….” I don’t remember the exact words, as I was devastated by my failure and blinded by my fury.

I threw cold water in my face, waited a few minutes and then repeated the entire process. Again, the disgusting, loathsome creature responded, “Unable to connect… Blah, blah, blah.”

It doesn’t matter what the message said, because what it MEANT was:


On Monday, I’m going to see if I can have the evil monster welded to its gott-damned port replicator.

Failing that, I will definitely be hiring someone on as my Designated Ass Kicker.

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