August 1, 1997
There’s a long-running commercial in which people drag themselves out of bed, stumble in to take a shower, and suddenly, as they sniff the soap, they’re zapped awake. This really frightens me. Why? Because if just sniffing the soap wakes you up, what happens when you spread this stuff all over your skin? There’s gotta be something pretty powerful in there. This does explain morning people, though. Sure, they can claim that they’re just naturally that way, but I’ve known for a long time that people who can be chipper and happy before ten without some kind of artificial stimulant are aberrations of nature. Now I know they’re not really as common as they seem to be. Probably a large number of these so-called morning people are really coming into work stoned on soap. Sure, there are a few people who just naturally leap out of bed in the mornings, but the rest are just as groggy and brainless as the rest of us before their morning lather. And what happens when this high wears off? Are there people out there who keep a couple of bars in their desk at work, one in their car, maybe a few slivers in their wallet or purse–so they can have a quick sniff anytime they need it. Well be careful, and please don’t abuse your soap. There are a lot of things in this world people choose to Just Say No to, but can you imagine what would happen if we gave up soap?
Actual dialog of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee:
"Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?"
"Yes, well, I’m having trouble with WordPerfect."
"What sort of trouble?"
"Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."
"Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"
"It’s blank; it won’t accept anything when I type."
"Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
"How do I tell?"
"Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?"
"What’s a sea-prompt?"
"Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"
"There isn’t any cursor: I told you, it won’t accept anything I type."
"Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
"What’s a monitor?"
"It’s the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it’s on?"
"I don’t know."
"Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it’s plugged into the wall."
"Yes, it is."
"When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
"Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."
"Okay, here it is." "Follow it for me, and tell me if it’s plugged securely into the back of your computer."
"I can’t reach."
"Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"
"Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"
"Oh, it’s not because I don’t have the right angle-it’s because it’s dark."
"Yes-the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."
"Well, turn on the office light then."
"No? Why not?"
"Because there’s a power outage."
"A power… A power outage? Aha! Okay, we’ve got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"
"Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
"Good! Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."
"Really? Is it that bad?"
"Yes, I’m afraid it is."
"Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"
"Tell them you’re too stupid to own a computer."