The Luddite’s Shocking Experience

As a sort of reinforcement to a statement I made earlier,  offer up the following True Story.

Around the start of November we started having a wee bit of computer problems.

I know!  That never happens to the Waters Family.  How the Fates must have turn on us!

This, though, happened to the dread LapDevil.  See, its power cord didn’t, y’know, give it power.  As it has a battery with a lifespan than made decapitated turkeys seem long-lived (BELATED HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!), this posed a bit of a problem. It’s somewhat hard to write the Great American Fantasy Novel on a laptop that isn’t working.

Fortunately, if you jiggled the thing just right, it would return to pumping energy.

Unfortunately, it reminded me of this cell phone we have.  See, it doesn’t take power, either.  And could be fixed with finessing.  Only its the fault of not the cord but the power… input… thingy.

Look, it’s a wonder you’re reading this at all, okay?  Me no get no tech stuff.  On switches look like Rubic’s Cubes sometimes.  The microwave laughs at me.  And we don’t even wanna talk about calculators, the teases.

Self insulting aside, all of this looked like the start of A Problem Cullen Can’t Fix.  One of an endless series.  But why worry about it today when tomorrow is so close.  Right?

Uh huh.

Any way, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I notice once again that, despite having the cord firmly in place, ole LapDevil isn’t getting any juice.  Time to reach back and fiddle with the cord.  Like I’ve done a bajillion times before.  Or at least several times.  Hyperbole might be running rampant, I can’t say.

This time, things don’t go the same as before.

This time, the cord bites my thumb.

Well, that’s not quite right.  More like burns me.  And even then I’m not sure that I’m getting it right.

As by any name this was a strange occurrence, I turn the LapDevil around and see…

Okay, okay, you got me.  I didn’t just turn it around and see what’s what.  No no no.  I have to reach back AGAIN and have it happen a second time, then checked it out  Two black streaks on one of the more important digits of my writing hand.  You won’t find my picture next to stupid in the dictionary, but it’s only one Darwin Award away, I’m telling you.

They say confession’s good for the soul, but telling that hasn’t helped a jot.

What had happened (at least how I recall it from the far off time of two weeks later) is that the cord had melted right at the input-to-the-LapDevil end.  I could see exposed wires.  More to the point, I could see exposed wires flashing.

Pretty colors.

Very pretty colors.

I don’t know how long I sat there staring at the flickering lights.  Might even be at it today, had the cord not started smoking.  And I’m not talking a pack-a-day habit kind of smoking either.

My brain started doing some basic math:

Smoke = Fire Hot.

Fire  Hot = Bad.

Fire Hot + LapDevil = Bad For LapDevil.


Cullen Waters.  Super Genius.

So no power cord.  No LapDevil.  No more procrastination.  A new cord needs to be found.  Easy peasy, right?  Just go to the store and by a new one.  Surely if they carry it in stock, they have replacement parts.

Makes sense.

Except this isn’t the case.  Wal-mart, where we bought the LapDevil, only has a Universal Power Cord.  For $90.

No way in hell I’m paying $90 bucks.  Nuh huh.

I shop around.

$90 bucks turns out to be a bargain.  I see the same cord at other places for $100 to $120.  It’s like a third of the computer’s price is cord or something.  Unreal.

So what do I do?

I go to Amazon, find the right cord for the LapDevil’s model, and fork over 13 bucks or so total.

I’m stupid, but I’m not that stupid.

If I’ve learned anything from this experience (and God, talk about firsts there!  Learning something) it’s to check things out before sticking your hand anywhere electrical.  And if you get bit once don’t try it a second time.

I dunno.  Maybe if I get that tattooed on me, then I’ll remember..


2 Replies to “The Luddite’s Shocking Experience”

  1. Long ago, many moons ago, I bought an external floppy drive (ask your parents) for an old Mac. It didn’t work. I brought it back to the place I bought it (an outlet for old used equipment) to explain the problem. They thought, mayhap, a bad power supply? So they tried another one.

    Bright pink smoke came flooding through the drive. “Ah, that doesn’t look good,” I said.

    They rapidly unplugged the drive and the power supply, and (to their credit) equally rapidly gave me a refund.

  2. You cant fool around with power cords and power supplies. It’s even more critical over here, in the Philippines, since they run a higher voltage out of the wall sockets.

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