Friday, January 04, 2008

Broken mouse?

My daughter comes into the den to tell me something the other day. She never waits for the commercial either. She just starts blabbing. As if whatever she has to say is more important than "Seinfeld" re-runs.

So says she: "The mouse is broken. I move it and nothing happens."

I say, "Well, ...." Then she interrupts, "And, it's really plugged in, I checked." Good one! She remembered one of the troubleshooting steps from the last time around.

This is a Windows machine, the kid's machine. (... Uh, not that we're terribly well-off or anything. It's just that I love my computer. I love my computer like some men love their power tools or their car. And, I was really tired of the sticky keyboard and the little finger-smudges on my monitor.)

So, the cure-all for 99% of all Windows problems is simply to reboot. It can be tricky to reboot XP from the login screen without a working mouse. You just hit tab until it highlights the "Turn off computer-name" button in the bottom left corner, then hit enter and you get the turn-off/restart dialog which has underlined hot keys.

But, no!, rebooting does not work this time. And, I was feeling so damn clever showing the kids how I could work a computer without the mouse!! ... I'm a little flummoxed at this point, I admit. But, I keep my cool. The trick to computer troubleshooting is to break things down into the basics. So, I try moving the mouse left and right. Nothing. I try moving it up and down. Nope, cursor doesn't budge. So, I try moving it around in little circles. Yeah, little circles, that's just the thing. Still -- NOTHING! And -- although it makes no sense at all -- I was a little surprised that the little circles didn't work. You see, that's where my steely nerves, nonsensical optimism, and suave, Bond-like, good humor under-fire paid off. After the "little circles" plan failed, I immediately picked the mouse up to give it a good hard what-the-h3ll-is-wrong-with-you look. During this psychic interrogation, I turned the mouse over and what did I see? Not the red laser light that I was expecting. I saw a yellow, smiling face, a sticker to be precise. A small child's sticker that was completely covering the light-emitting/motion-sensing orifice of this poor, innocent, and completely functional mouse.

We didn't exactly have to dust for prints on this one. The six year old boy had been kind of hanging around to see what was going on. Really, I don't think he remembered putting that sticker on until I turned it over. And, then he was kind of lurking around the chair to see how I'd react. (The little sweetheart was probably still thinking he had deniability, in the case that things went badly. I love kids.) Anyway, I laughed my rear-end nearly off. I called in my wife and the other children to see and they laughed, too. You should have seen the little guy beaming at his clever joke -- and doubly so when I broke out the camera to record it for posterity. I suppose we shouldn't be rewarding him for sabotaging computer peripherals. But, come on, he irritated his big sister and greatly amused his father all at once. I've rarely been so proud.


Anonymous paulm said...

SpongeBob strikes again. It looks like his nose is glowing red for effect.

23 January, 2008  

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