This morning, my faith in human nature was restored.
A man called ‘Shane’ rang to tell me my computer was infected with ‘why-russes’. Shane lives in India and phoned at his own expense to give me the news. In my opinion, that’s altruism beyond words.
Shane has been monitoring my, and many other people’s machines, for several months now, in case anything goes wrong. It’s an act of charity which, in the modern world, has become increasingly rare.
Though we’ve never met, he was happy to guide me through a ‘simple process’ which, he assured me, would ‘solve your problem at no cost to you whatsoever’. I wasn’t having that, I told him, and insisted cost was not an issue. I’m not short of a few bob, having offloaded CC Cheese Ltd for a packet some years back, and put the money where it can’t be traced.
I said he was to name his price, and a postal order would be winging its way east the moment he’d sorted me out.
This cut no ice with Shane, who refused to take payment for his trouble. It’s hard to believe, I know, but it’s a fact and you’ll have to take my word for it. There are good people out there, whatever the newspapers tell us.
With this young man’s guidance, I managed, after a delay of only seven minutes, to switch on my ancient desktop. Sadly, though it eventually groaned into life, I found myself – lo and behold! – staring at a blank screen. Shane got quite excited at this development (or lack of same), and told me ‘that will be the why-russes’. It was only then that I realised I hadn’t switched the monitor on.
I didn’t want to look a fool in front of my new friend, so kept this faux pas to myself. Instead, I embarked on a new adventure, in which Shane patiently took me to ‘Start’, ‘Control Panel’ and a few other places with which I won’t bore you.
Unfortunately, this didn’t get us far, owing to a certain clumsiness on my part which resulted in my regularly returning to ‘Start’, and having to begin all over again, much to Shane’s dismay. At one point, I even managed to shut down completely, and wasted a further five minutes before I was once more up and running.
I’m no expert, as you’ll probably have guessed, but it seems to me that if a horse is hopelessly riddled with ‘why-russes’, there’s no point beating it to death with a neighbour’s shoe. Eventually, after a good deal of failure on my part, I told him so.
Shane took this in his stride. Hailing from the East, he probably does a lot of yoga and can sit on his own head while studying the fluff in his navel. That’s got to be a comfort at moments of crisis. Still, even his contemplative calm seemed shaken to the core, when I suggested using a small screwdriver to open the back of the tower and ‘let the buggers out’.
This didn’t meet with Shane’s approval at all. Quite the contrary, in fact. He got rather excited, and not in a good way.
Possibly, he feared for my physical safety, though I tried to put his mind at rest. I told him I’d seen rats the size of squirrels during my time in the cheese trade, so a ‘why-russ’ didn’t frighten me, however many teeth it had. Besides, I assured him, there was no cause for concern. I was armed with a hammer, too, and ready to ‘knock the little sods on the head’ the moment they appeared.
At this point the line went dead. (We’d been chatting for over 20 minutes; I dread to think what it had cost him at international rates.) Within half a minute, you’ll be pleased to hear, the phone rang again and the lad was back, apologising for a ‘technical fault’ which had cut me off. Unfortunately, I had to tell him it was too late. I had, since we last spoke, taken my machine into the garden and dumped it in the bin as being no longer ‘fit for purpose’.
Shane got quite agitated on hearing this and told me there was no need for such drastic action. I had gone too far, but he could still save the day. I asked if he minded waiting while I retrieved my computer from the bin and he said he was happy to do so.
However, when I came back, 15 minutes later, Shane was no longer on the line, and I haven’t heard from him since.
Cold callers often get a bad press, but this latest experience has taught me that, though there may be a few rotten turnips in the sack, there are also those out there – people like Shane – who have nothing but our best interests at heart.
I think it’s a lesson to us all.
Thought for the Day
‘Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away … nothing happened. They never tell you that story, do they?’
Winston Churchill (1874-1965)