Technology Hates Me

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That’s Murphy’s Law. It’s like rain on your wedding day, or like a hard drive crashing in the middle of finals week, taking your paper down with it. Captain Ed Murphy, the man who lent his name to this law, was an aerospace engineer who once said, “If there is any way to do it wrong, he will,” about a technician working on his project. He just so happened to utter that phrase while at Edward’s Air Force Base, which is more or less five miles away from my childhood home. I think that’s incredibly apt.

I once prided myself on my computer knowledge; I don’t know what happened, but the tide of my technological luck has long since turned. My printer hates me, my cell phone despises me and my laptop abhors me. They sometimes band together to hate on me two- or threefold.

I have a theory that printers hate everyone. I’ve heard quite a few people declare that printers are the devil, which I agreed with up until working in an office. I now believe that printers are merely trouble-making princes of darkness. No, beastly Xerox machines are the devil: paper jams in the deepest of their bowels, running out of cyan (which somehow has to do with my black-and-white print job, obviously) and rebelling at the request of staples. I’ve emerged from the innards of Xerox machines covered in hole-punch leftovers and ink more times than I’d care to think about. The smell of toner makes my eyes water, my sinuses clog and my head pound.

My own printer makes my head pound as well. Ninety percent of the time it pulls in multiple sheets of paper at once and prints across all of them. That would be fine if my professors were asking for collages, but they never have and probably never will. It also used to ask me to reinstall the software every time I wanted to print, which resulted in a very distraught call to HP customer service (a call that ended in tears of frustration).

Speaking of phone calls, I’ve had a cell phone for seven years, and in those seven years, I’ve had six phones. The first phone’s software failed, the second phone fell apart, so did the third, the fourth one I lost while riding a bike, the fifth one I lost while studying (a feat I will never understand) and the sixth one is sitting beside me as I write this. I’ve dropped it at a rate of every-single-time-I-touch-it, so its lifespan is probably coming to an end.

Relating back to my technology banding together to rise up against me, cell phone number five had the worst reception of all time. In the middle of pleading calls to HP for both my printer and my laptop, Number Five dropped the calls more times than my blood pressure could handle.

That brings me to my laptop situation. I woke up one morning during spring finals last year, turned on my laptop to check the location of my Spanish final, went to it, and came back to find that my laptop was never going to turn on ever again. Turns out the video card was fried. Fifteen calls later, thanks to Number Five’s terrible reception, and after way too much yelling on my behalf (“There’s no way my warranty is expired!”), an empty box was zooming my way to take my laptop to the laptop doctor. Or so I thought. They actually sent the first box to my mom’s house, two hours away, and delivered the second one while I was out of state. Bad luck all around.

Flash forward to December 2009. I got a new laptop, one that up until the last day of spring break, I had no problem with whatsoever. I woke up the day before classes started, sat down to check some e-mail and was told, “Could not start Windows, run start-up check.” So I did… and I did it again… and again… It told me to back up my files, so I did, and then with a wheezing cough, Laptop Number Two gave up. An empty box is currently on its way to me — or more likely, my mom’s house — as I write this. Never mind that this is the beginning of a quarter full of classes that require message board responses, online reading and endless writing assignments, laptop, just please come back to me soon.

When I think about it, I realize that the only piece of technology that hasn’t failed me has been my faithful iPod. It’s us against the world, iPod, you and me. Oh, and HP Customer Service, I’d like to extend a heartfelt apology.