I acquired something of a reputation for being able to solve minor computer-related problems. This was entirely due to the fact that I married an engineer. Anything I couldn’t figure out on my own could be sorted out with a quick phone call to my husband.
I once dazzled a small group of women in clerical by fixing a computer mouse at a group work station. We were being trained by a woman who was trying and failing to demonstrate dragging “this” over to “that” on the screen. The mouse was the now-antiquated type that has a hard rubber ball inside. The ball doesn’t track right when the inside gets dirty. The solution, I learned from my husband, is to remove the bottom of the mouse and take out the ball. Then you can clean the ball and the internal rollers that touch it. Put it all back together and voila, good-as-new mouse.
Often when my husband is fixing something, the initial stages of the process look like complete destruction. Once when we were first dating, he ripped up the carpet in a studio I’d just rented to run wire under the edges. I had expressed a desire to separate my TV and stereo components, but realized given the layout it wouldn’t be possible because of the wires. He asked that I trust him, and then proceeded to destroy my apartment. Or so it appeared. The end result was lovely.
So when I took the mouse apart, I was not surprised to see a few very concerned/alarmed expressions. I was new, and here I was just breaking stuff. A few minutes later, we had a mouse that worked better than anyone could remember, and I was awesome.
Which is why Eddie and Dave showed up at my desk one day for help with a computer problem. Nothing was broken, they just wanted to know how to do something they’d seen me do once. So I started messing around on my computer trying to figure out how I’d done whatever it was.
Dave was peering over my shoulder saying, “Go here, no there! No, wait, go back.” He reached across me to point at the monitor, “It’s in that other folder.” Eddie joined in with, “Wait wait wait wait, we started in the ‘D’ drive. Yeah, wait no...” Dave chimed in, “I thought it was the ‘H’ drive.” They went on like that for a couple of minutes until I got exasperated and said, “Shush!”
Dave’s mouth fell open. He drew back his shoulders in complete indignation, puffed out his chest and said one of the funniest things I ever heard in my government-job career:
“I’m a grown-ass MAN, dog! You can’t ‘Shush!’ me!”
I can’t imagine anyone mis-reading his audience more. Never in my life had I ever been confused with someone you might address as “dog.” I laughed until tears ran down my face. Dave started to comprehend the gravity of his mistake when I said, “No, no, no,” as I tried to catch my breath, “you’re right, you’re a grown-ass man-dog and I should not have shushed you.”
He looked over to Eddie and said, “Was that really that funny?” but Eddie just shook his head. That man-dog was on his own.