Tech support -- it takes two

It's years ago, and this young PC tech pilot fish is hired by a school district -- and his co-workers warn him that he's going to have a problem.

"I was told that one of the schools they'd given me had a principal who was very difficult to get along with," says fish.

"For the first week, all my calls were at other schools. But one day I was paged to go to that school and to see that principal because she was having a computer problem and was very upset."

Fish has a knot in his stomach as he drives to the school and finds his way to the principal's office, fearing the worst.

But what he finds is a flustered middle-aged woman who immediately begins griping about "these new computers" and how she doesn't have time for these problems because she's getting married.

Fish calmly comments, "Getting married? That's great!"

Principal stops complaining for a moment and says, "Yes, it's exciting" -- and then begins complaining again that she can't get the reports she needs to do her job.

After she demonstrates her problems for a few minutes, fish realizes that there's nothing wrong with the computer; the principal is just navigating a new application the wrong way.

Fish takes principal's place at the keyboard, and she watches as he steps through the process.

But when fish asks if she understands what he's done, she stands with a faraway look and replies solemnly, "I do" -- and then suddenly turns beet-red.

"You're not even here, are you?" chuckles fish. Principal turns even redder and laughs, "I guess I'm not! You're not going to tell anyone, are you?"

Says fish, "I promised I wouldn't -- a promise I have kept until now -- and gained a friend who was later instrumental in getting me a much-needed raise.

"From that day on, my boss sent me to all the 'difficult' users to see if I could work my charm on them, too."

Sharky wants to make this as easy as possible. Just send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. I'll file off the identifying marks and send you a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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