Sometimes there are things that you really just had rather no one ever know. You know: that you keep a pair of Sock Monkey slippers under your desk, or that you own every single episode of Days of Our Lives, or that the reason your driver’s seat won’t adjust any more is because someone spilled Froot Loops that got into the seat-moving mechanism. Not that you’re confessing to Froot Loops.
I, on the other hand, confessed to Miley Cyrus, and it may have saved Wayne Newton. I mentioned on Monday that my iMac, named Wayne Newton, had to go to the shop to be repaired. He’s home, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all is well. It has been a long, long ugly journey, with over a month of attempts by 1) me and 2) AppleCare geeks and 3) more and more AppleCare geeks, all trying to figure out what was causing him to randomly freeze and refuse to unfreeze. I kept notes of every incident, including the date and exact time and what I was doing, because it really did seem to be random: one day he would freeze while I was typing a blog post, and another day he would freeze when Pinterest was loading. Then, an hour later, he would freeze while I was just sitting here, appearing to do nothing, the way we do when our fingers are poised over the keyboard and we’re thinking really hard but look like we’re dozing with our eyes open. And then he would refuse to reboot, and I would gnash my teeth and say Really Bad Words.
I’d told the long, ugly story to all manner of techs, and when I finally took him in to the new Simply Mac store in the mall, I tried to make it as short and useful as possible. By this time, I was kind of tired of the whole sordid tale of woe. I mentioned some of the times he’d frozen, including during a video, I said, when a really weird thing happened while I was watching Miley Cyrus. The three tech guys’ ears pricked up.
And I said, “Well, OK, it was the day after the Video Music Awards, and I was watching her video, and it froze, but the music kept playing all the way to the end.” They laughed at the idea of me watching Miley, but one of them said, “Oh, then it’s probably your video card.”
Now, I’d told about this incident to various techs, but they hadn’t seemed to think it was important. And then I realized that maybe they hadn’t really heard me when I said a weird thing happened when I was watching a video. But this time, because I said something that caught their attention—Miley Cyrus. Duh—someone actually heard something that clicked: the video froze, the music kept playing.
They kept Wayne Newton overnight, and they ran diagnostics on him and, they reported, got him to freeze on the exact same video in the exact same way. Of course they had to watch it for diagnostic purposed. Of course. They ordered a new graphics card and installed it and then spent two hours watching videos with him, checking to see if he still hated twerking as much as he had before. (He still does, because computers hate jiggling of all kinds, but he didn’t freeze up in protest.) So they declared him fixed and sent him home.
So far, all is well. I don’t have complete faith in the fix, of course, because as I said, it’s been a long, long mess of an adventure. But I did learn something valuable: sometimes the thing you don’t want to tell someone—that there might possibly be just the tiniest bit of gesso spilled around the edges of your trackpad, or that the camera was working just fine until it maybe fell into the dog’s water dish, or that your car never made that noise until you spilled a tube of beads into the vent (don’t ask) —is the one thing that will solve the mystery and lead the way to a solution that will let you get back to work.
Confession: good for more than just your soul.
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