A couple weeks back, a salesman from one of the local Internet, television and phone vendors stopped by my house and convinced me, wife Brenda and daughter Jess that we could get an Internet feed with blazing speed, along with clear and realistic television reception, and the full use of telephones that we already have. The salesman said that and the whole setup would cost a lot less than the gizmos and gadgets that the previous vendor had already installed in our house.
Well, don't you know, we Jowerses — even the Jowers dogs — were excited. In just a few days, we'd be standing astride the topmost entertainment and technology in, well, the whole dang minifinity, or X-verse, or whatever they're calling coaxial cable these days.
The following day, a young man arrived at our house, hopped out of his truck, took a look at our cables and cable boxes, and then put me to work.
"Would you mind pulling that cable to the back of your yard," he asked me nicely. And you know, I went ahead and pulled the cable — about 100 feet of it. I fought my way over tree roots, rocks, rabbit holes, dog turds and a cat grave from way back in the '80s.
I know, I know. Some of you people are thinking, "Jowers, why are you pulling cable through your own backyard? The vendor sent you a man to do that very job."
Well, that's right. But I'd learned over the years I spent as a moonshiner's helper, an overseer of drunk and drugged-up musicians, and a critic of poorly built houses. All that education taught me that people prone to screwing things up will screw things up regularly and without notice. So I decided I was the best cable-puller in my yard that day.
And I was right.
Friends and neighbors, that cable is still lying on the ground in my back yard. There's no TV at the Jowers house today. If or when the guy who should've been pulling the cable shows up at my house, I'm going to offer him the opportunity to pick up the cable, roll it up neatly, and hand me a check on his way back to his truck.
After the hired cable-puller and I abandoned the cable-on-the-ground problem, another technician came to my house, and scrambled much of the wiring in my office. He tried to hook the router to my printer, using the wrong kind of cable. Then he started sweating profusely, dripping sweat onto my desk. I was worried that he might have been having a heart attack. He trotted downstairs, took a few deep breaths and jumped into his truck. I haven't seen him since.
For those of you who are wondering: No, my TV and Internet don't work, at least not today, and not with all components working at the same time. The Internet works in fits and starts. Sometimes, my cursor refuses to move. I suspect that it'll be a while before the Internet starts working right.
Brothers and sisters and cats and dogs of our technological age, keep this in mind: From my point of view, getting an upgrade on your Internet, TV and phones is a whole lot like going to a political rally — or, better yet, a tent revival. The people doing the talking — and selling — do not love you. They just want you to hand over your money and spirit and do your own dang cable-pulling. Believe me when I tell you, sooner or later your TV screen will be filled with static and your Internet bandwidth will be sucked down like crab legs at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.
Mere moments ago, I got a call from the TV/Internet/phone vendor, regarding the cable in my back yard. "There's too much work to be done there," said the lady on the phone. "You'll have to call our business office."
Funny, isn't it, that a lady presumably in the business office seems to be unsure whether her company has a business office. She called me and told me I'd have to call her business office, from which she just hung up. Maybe I'll call her back and tell her to call my office.
Right now, I'm just about ready to call this lady's supposed business office, and put the Jowers basset hounds on the phone. That might just make everybody in the business office run away until the hounds calm down. I promise, anybody in that office will hear the hounds.
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