In Praise of Tech Support.

I’m in the middle of a big book project with a deadline of May 15th that will be here before I’m ready for it. But my internet service provider has chosen this particular time to “migrate all email accounts to a state-of-the-art system.” Oh, please . . . say it ain’t so!

The last thing I need right now is to have “old, reliable and familiar” morph into “new, different and unfamiliar.” I know that the new system is going to be complicated, but my immediate wish is quite simple: I want—no, I NEED to stop losing my emails. 

Of course I know that when I finally do get help from a technician, it’s a foregone certainty that in the process of restoring my email, he—or ever so much worse—she will have exposed me as a technology incompetent.


I just spoke to a very nice man at Technical Support.  The problem is when I finally do get someone like him on the phone, even my meager accumulation of technical knowledge—acquired painfully over years through trial and error—goes right out the window. 

Nevertheless, we finally reached a point where he said, “OK, that should do it. Now just enter your password.” At that particular moment in time, and under pressure, I had no idea what my damn password is.

In my defense, that’s not as irresponsible as might be seen. Over the past 10 or 15 years, I have had literally dozens of passwords. It just seems to me that I don’t have to actually remember the damn things—that’s what computers are for! 

No matter. Tech Support has done what he’s paid to do and I’m back in business, cleaning up and responding to messages that had appeared in the 15 hours since I noticed the problem. 

About 20 minutes after leaving that page, I realize I hadn’t remembered to write down the new password . . . and I’ve already forgotten it. 

Eventually—in a few weeks—I’ll be having another problem with my email and I’ll be on the phone with Tech Support again and he’ll ask me to type in my password again.

But it’s OK. By that time, neither one of us will remember this time.