The Ugly Volvo (theuglyvolvo) wrote in mock_the_stupid,
The Ugly Volvo
theuglyvolvo
mock_the_stupid

There's a reason Microsoft keeps it simple.

They should never have mentioned that I could program sounds into my computer. They should have known it because they know me, and they should have known it because they know about the general human predilection for novelty. They should have known that showing me how to download sounds would be an indefinite period of noise pollution for the two of them, who were living with me at the time.



They didn't think of any of that. They told me. I was thrilled.

"So I can program my computer to make different sounds for different actions?" I asked my roommates, delighted.
"Yes," they said, and I immediately put in place a plethora of movie quotes, activated when my computer performed the pre-determined functions.

It was the personalization, I thought, of my desktop computer. Forget the preprogrammed Microsoft "pings" and soft taps and "clicks." I wanted quotes and sounds and ideas that symbolized me. I wanted the lines that made me laugh to play every time I opened a webpage. I wanted a sound that summed me up every time I hit Control-Alt-Delete. So I programmed them all in and (surprise!) was tired of all of them within a week.

"People who speak in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch," said my IM box, each time I received a message. My conversations began as follows:

"People who speak in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch. IMname1: Hello!
"People who speak in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch. IMname2: Hey! What's up?
"People who speak in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch. IMname1: Not much. You?
"People who speak in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch. IMname2: Aside from wishing I were deaf...nothing going on here.

Eventually, of course, people began leaving comments in quick succession and it sounded like a drab re-mix of the movie from which it was taken-- the restaurant scene in "As Good as it Gets."
"People who speak in--
"People who speak in--
"People who speak--
"People!
"People who speak in metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch."

I had chosen a line for my pull down menus, forgetting that often there will be pull down menus within other pull down menus...leading once again to the grating repetitiveness of a line that I had once found enjoyable.

"Ok, so the File menu..."
"The popcorn you're eating has been pissed in...Film at Eleven!
"Send To..."
"The popcorn you're eating has been pissed in...Film at Eleven!
"Ok, so I go to Insert..."
The popcorn--
"All RIGHT!"

And I removed them almost as soon as they had been instituted-- leaving only a few in place, such as the Aladdin sound byte starting with a colliding "Bonk" noise and declaring, "Well I feel stupid!" each time an error popped up on my screen.
Which was never problematic until the day there was a serious problem with my computer and the message came up continually: "Well I feel stupid! Well I feel stupid! Well I feel stupid!" and I wanted to shout "OK! I GET IT! I ACTUALLY FEEL STUPID!"

Which is not what I said to the Gateway technician over the telephone. I simply explained that my computer was malfunctioning and I wasn't certain as to why.

"All right," she said. "First I'll need you to turn off your computer."

"All right," I said.

And doing something I hadn't done in over a month (I rarely turn my computer off, since I use it almost constantly) I went to the start menu and chose the option, "Shut Down."

"Is it off?" she asked after a few seconds.

"No," I said. "It's not turning off." And as I glanced at the screen, waiting for something to happen, I heart a soft interlude begin, pouring out of my speakers.

Doot doot DO doot, Doot do DOOO doot, DOOOOOOO doo doo do...

"Ma'am?" the technician asked. "Has your computer shut down?"

"Not yet," I said, grimacing.

Doot doot DO doot, Doot do DOOO doot, DOOOOOOO doo doo do...

I willed the sounds to come faster-- trying to pull them out of the speakers so it would finish and the damn thing would shut off.

"Ma'am? Is it...has it shut down?"

Doo-doot doo-doot doooooooo...

"It's not shutting down," I admitted. "It's taking a while. I...I programmed a sound into it to play every time it turns off and it has to go through the whole sound before the computer turns off. I didn't realize how long it was," I said. "I'm really sorry."

"A sound?"

"Ok," I admitted. "A really long sound."

"It's Ok," she said, with the type of patience found only in those who must help the everyday idiots of the world fix their computers, and Jesus. "We'll just wait for it to finish so the computer will turn off."

Doo-doot doo-doot doooooo doooooooo, doooooo dooooooo...
Doot doot DO doot, Doot do DOOO doot, DOOOOOOO doo doo do...


She was unusually silent for a good while before speaking.

"Is that the Harlem Globetrotters theme song?" she asked politely.

"Maybe," I said.

It was, in fact, maybe the longest, most repetitious version of the Harlem Globetrotters Theme Song available on earth lasting (seemingly) eight or nine hours. And while I wished we had the clowning team itself to distract us from my intense stupidity, instead I sat in my room, dreaming of tu-tus and confetti and the painfully inept Washington Generals, who, even as the perpetual losers they are, would have chosen a shorter song to which their computers shut down.

"I'm really, really sorry," I told the woman, as the song geared up for another round and the two of us waited patiently in our respective rooms.

"I've been through worse," she said.

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