Just call me Mr. Consistent

20 years ago one of my duties at work was to manage a network of Macintosh computers. This only sounds impressive to people who don’t know how dead simple it was to network Macintoshes back then. It was the easiest job I’ve ever had.

Our file server was a Macintosh SE/30 – 16 MHz, 1 MB RAM, and a 40 MB hard drive. In those days, that was considered a screaming machine. My co-workers on the training and technical writing teams stored all their work on it.

One day, after one of the brief power outages of which we seemed to have more than our share, the file server didn’t power up. We were dead in the water.

The nearest Macintosh service center was 70 miles away in Indianapolis. I immediately grabbed the file server and drove it to Indy. The repair place said to check back in an hour.

When I returned, the technician had a puzzled look on his face. “Um, Mr. Grey,” he said, “the only thing I could find wrong with your file server was that the brightness knob was turned all the way down.”


I paid the man for his time and drove back to Terre Haute. I told everybody that the file server was fixed. Only our administrative assistant asked what was wrong with it. I responded vaguely. I could tell she didn’t buy it.

Fast forward to last Sunday. While my church is worshipping in a hotel conference room, some of our music is on compact disc. The music minister has me schlep his portable CD stereo back and forth every week and play the songs at the right times. I plugged the stereo in as I have so many weeks before, but this time its little red LEDs failed to light. I figured it had breathed its last.

You see what’s coming, don’t you?

I ran out to my car, drove to Wal-Mart, bought a new stereo, and rushed back. And there stood the fellow who teaches Sunday school giving me a puzzled look as he held up the old stereo – LEDs lit. “Um, Jim,” he said, “the function switch was set to Off.”

Nice to know that I never learn.


4 responses to “Just call me Mr. Consistent”

  1. Chris Rowland Avatar
    Chris Rowland

    I find that this type of incident from time to time is a good way to maintain humility.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Yeah, and we all need such reminders from time to time!

  2. Bernie Kasper Avatar

    I once knew a guy who knew this guy that called a tech line because his camera didn’t work…he could have sworn on his life that the battery was in it !!!

    1. Jim Avatar

      I identify with that guy!

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