A Christmas Intervention

It may seem incongruous – and downright dumb – to designate a power cord going kerflooey a “Christmas Miracle.” But, pay attention.

Note: This entry was originally posted Dec 12, 2007.

Last night, my trusty laptop flashed a signal that its battery was low. That was puzzling, given that it was plugged in at the time. But I’ve made far too many calls to tech support1 not know the routine. After making sure the outlet was hot, I unplugged and re-plugged my power cord which did cause a different signal to appear on the laptop’s screen, “Power cord not recognized.”

On close inspection, I found this:

The photo looks directly into the end of the cable that plugs into the laptop. It looks kind of like the inside of a bell with the clapper removed, doesn’t it? In this case, the absent element is not a clapper but a single strand of wire that once arose from the center of the cable and inserted into a matching channel in the laptop. No center wire, no connection.

The adapter and power cord should, however, make a fine ornament for the tree.

The laptop put out of commission is, of course, my only computer that can hook up with a decently fast broadband connection. And, no one who has worked with computers or any other machine more than twice will be surprised to learn that, even with me agreeing to pay the ransom demanded for expedited delivery, the earliest a replacement adapter and cable can be shipped is three days from now.

The Bad News

The bad news is that I can’t work on any of the 33,297 tasks on my list that require a broadband connection.

The Good News

The good news is that I can’t work on any of the 33,297 tasks on my list that require a broadband connection.

The Upshot

Consequently, I’ve spent time emailing folks who may well have been in the process of declaring me legally dead, having not heard from me in eons. I’ve read a few chapters in a book I purchased on its publication date but hadn’t yet opened, although the movie based on it has come and gone. Heck, I called my mother.

I even gazed upon the winter wonderland that surrounds us and snapped a photo or two.2

Being forced to enjoy a weekend during the holidays is a trial, but I’m determined to be brave about it.


  1. I’ll explain for the young’uns – there once was a time when computer users could telephone an actual person in tech support to deal with your machine’s problems rather than emailing a description of the difficulty and receiving 8 days later, with luck, a generic responses cut and pasted by a software program that was clearly coded by a programmer whose first language was not English. Of course, the tech support person you contacted in that golden age might or might not have a clue about whatever was wrong, but still… []
  2. I have many other shots that are equally fascinating – especially if you’ve ever wondered how photos of a winter landscape would look if they were taken by a camera accidentally set in “Underwater” mode. Neil Ellis has his favorite photo techniques; I have mine. []