A Call from the Technical Support Department

Guy calls… Caller ID shows “Unknown Number”… I’m game. I answer.

“Hello.” Already I can detect the Bihari accent. This guy’s from India. “My name is John Peterson.” Lie. “I am from the technical support department for the Windows operating system.” Big lie. “Am I speaking with Mr. Webb?” Oh-ho! He’s got a directory!

“Yes,” I reply.

“We have been receiving notifications of many problems from your computer as you attempt to access web sites. We are calling to resolve those issues with you.” Oh really? I did not know that. How wonderful for him to have called me! “Are you at your Windows operating system computer?”

“Yes.” This promises great fun and sport, I can sense that already.

“What version of Windows Operating System do you have?”

“I have one computer with XP, one with Vista, and one with Windows 7.”

“Are you at your computer?”


“Do you see, in the lower left corner, a button that says ‘Start’?” I guess that’s how he can make sure I don’t have Windows 8.


“Please apply the left-click on that button.”

“OK.” And, yes, I did apply the left-click to the start button.

“Do you see a list of options?”


He then proceeds to read off a list of options that I don’t have because I’ve configured my start menu to be like classic Windows. I know what he’s reading to me is for the default config on Windows 7. I don’t have that here. I tell him that I don’t see those options.

“Do you see a list of programs?”

I click on “Programs” and, yes, I do see a list. Three columns wide. No way am I reading all those off, even if I was a chump. “Yes, a long list of programs. Lots of them.”

“Do you see an option for ‘My Documents’ or ‘Computer’?”

Lucky me, I don’t. “No, I don’t have options for those.”

“Are you sure?”

“I am sure. Those options are not there.”

“Well, let us try a more direct method or way. Look at your keyboard. What button do you see in the lower left corner?”


“And what button is next to that? FN?”

“No, it’s ALT.”

“And what button is next to that?”

“The spacebar.”

“Don’t you have a key with a Windows logo on it?”

“No.” OK, so that’s a bit of a lie, but I prefer using keyboards without a Windows key, so since he’s lied to me, I get to play make-believe with him.

“There is no keyboard that does not have a Windows key!”

“Mine doesn’t have a Windows key.”

“You have to have a Windows key! Every keyboard made for the Windows operating system has a Windows key!”

“I’m telling you, I don’t have a Windows key. I’ve been using Windows since 1993, and the keyboards back then did not have a Windows key. My keyboard right now does not have a Windows key.”

“You have to have a Windows key! I am smarter than you!”


“Is your mother there?”

What does he need my mother for? “No, my mother is not here.”

“Are you at you at your mother’s computer?”

“No, this is my computer. My mother does not live here. I live here. This is my computer.”

“This is your computer?”

“Yes, this is my computer.”

“Well, I am calling from the Technical Support Department. Now you must listen to me!”

“The Technical Support Department from which company?”

“I have told you.”

“No, you just said you’re with the Technical Support Department. You didn’t say which company you’re with.”

“I’m with the Windows Operating System.”

“The Windows Operating System isn’t a company. Microsoft is a company. Hewlett-Packard is a company. IBM is a company. What company are you with?”

“I’m with The Geek Squad.”

“Hmm… I don’t have a Geek Squad account. Is this free support?”


“So this is pay support? How much will it cost?”

“No, it won’t cost you.”

“Wait, so you’re giving me free support and not free support?”

“Stop confusing yourself! Listen to me! Minor problems we fix for free: major problems, big bucks!”

“So what is a major problem?”

“We will find out! Do you have an icon that says ‘My Computer.’?” Nice redirect, Mr. Non-Peterson. I’ll play along.

“Yes.” Looks like the blind squirrel found a nut.

“Please to right-click that icon and read to me the options.”

I right-click it and read the list, as I see it: “Open, Explore, Search, Map Network Drive, Disconnect Net-”

“Please click the option that says ‘Manage’.” Rude! He interrupted me!

Just as well. I didn’t have a ‘Manage’ option. I told him that.

“You have no ‘Manage’ option?”


“Is this a special computer that your employer has especially built for you?”


“And somehow, you have the *only* Windows Operating System in the world that does not have a Windows key, a Computer option or a Manage option?”

“It’s not the only one that doesn’t fit that description, you see-”

“Why don’t you go use your mother’s computer, you [obscene gerund followed by an obscene noun]!” And then, before I could reply, he hung up.

Pity. I was wanting him to ask me to click on something so I could rattle off one of the many Blue Screen of Death messages that I’ve memorized.

Oh well, now I have to let my mom know that a very angry Indian chap has ordered me to use her computer. Right before Mother’s Day, too. How thoughtful of the guy!

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