Friday, September 4, 2009

The Ideal Complainer

Let's see here. I found two aces, and this stack seems to have a lot of clubs and spades in it, thought Nathan. I really must learn how to play solitaire someday. He clicked on a stack of cards, and watched a bunch of them fly meaninglessly around the screen. Except that I won't, because it's such a stupid game.

It was one of those days.

Nathan worked the help desk for a local something-or-other, and the people who called him fit neatly into two camps: those with familiar problems that he could easily solve himself, and those with problems that sounded like they were most likely caused by evil spirits and should not be talked about ever again, lest the demons become restless. These latter he usually passed on to his supervisor, a skilled exorcist.

With a very few exceptions, both varieties of caller were generally patient and calm, however, because they were professionals.

Nathan's phone rang. He quickly un-slouched himself, jabbed the line connect button and swung the handset up to his ear in one fluid motion.

"So-And-So Concern, this is Nathan!" he said cheerfully.



"Oh, I'm sooo sorry!" said a voice. This voice belonged either to a super villain or a benevolent school headmaster. "Things are just going so wrong over here right now, I didn't even hear your greeting, blast my ears! This is Larry from that concern you tech-support, and I was wondering, you know, if you could help me out."

"I will most certainly try, Larry!" Nathan replied.

"Well, oh my gosh, I'm not even sure where to begin. I don't know if this was even the right number to call! It seems that---is it still doing that? It is? Well, I'm going to trust that this is the right number, and even if it's not! Oh!"

There was a muffled explosion and Larry's voice sounded echoey and far away. "Somebody better get a lot of rags," he said. There was some further rustling, and Larry's voice regained its normal volume and timbre. "I'm sorry about that Nathan, but it seems that things are actively on fire over here! Wouldn't you know it? And on a Monday too, isn't that always the way things go?"

"Of course. It wouldn't be a Monday without some sort of calamity, huh?" Nathan said in a reassuringly jokey manner. He pulled a pencil and scratch pad out of his desk drawer. This sounded like one of those problems he might have to take notes on.

"Nathan, allow me to explain. It seems we have had some people calling in and complaining that a certain service is not working for them! It's hanging up on them and calling them names, and telling them nasty stories about their spouses. That wouldn't be something you could take care of, would it?"

Nathan put away his pad and pencil and smiled. This wasn't anything new after all, but a problem he was actually familiar with.

"Larry, I believe I can actually fix this problem for you," he said.

"That would be SPLENDID, Nathan!"

"Sounds like the ol' CRS machine just needs to be reset. I'll get right on it."

"Oooooh, thank you Nathan! This is wonderful news, and I'll surely pass it on if I can make it out from under these collapsed girders without, you know, sawing my legs off. You have a great day now."

"Thanks, Larry, you too!"

Nathan placed the handset back in its cradle and resumed his slouch. That guy was awesome. If Larry survived, Nathan hoped he would call again soon. Talking to Larry beat solitaire hands-down.


  1. Oooo! I simply HAD to fling myself downstairs to cure my laughing fit after reading, and especially, LISTENING to this! It reminds me so much of workplaces I have known. Thank you, FooDaddy.

  2. I WISH this were an every day occurrence. Most of the folks I--I'm sorry--Nathan talks to are brief and efficient, as they have jobs to do.

  3. they only act like they have jobs to do. they really just sit there and lookat all the sticky kids touching and stealing things. then the jobs start.

  4. I wish someone would steal the sticky kids.

  5. Also, I enjoyed this post as well. I had to borrow some of the enjoyment from FD's FD, as he almost used all of it up, but I snatched some from his grasp and ate it before he knew what hit him.


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