I’m Alive Along with My Computer, and Ginger

In 2008, I had two dances with death. The first was prostate cancer that had metastasized beyond the prostate. A couple of months later, I fell off a ladder and cracked my head on a retaining wall in my backyard. The neurosurgeon used the medical term, subdural hematoma, to say that my brain was bleeding. Thanks to my doctors, I am alive and well. Interestingly, Ginger has had two canine versions of dancing with death.

Nearly two years ago, I returned to Myanmar, where my family and I went on a family tour together. After returning to the States, it wasn’t more than a couple of months before COVID-19 had spread throughout the world. Starting in 2020, the world faced the potential issue of dancing with death. However, vaccines were on the horizon. On January 20, 2021, during the inauguration of President Biden, I got my first COVID vaccine. A month later, I had my second shot. Therefore, I successfully lead death on the dance floor of my life.

However, about a week ago, my modem danced with death. I called Comcast, my Internet provider, and told them that my phone wasn’t working, which is tied to my modem. They told me to bring in my old modem, and they would replace it, which I did. I installed my new modem and turned it on. However, the phone still did work. To make matters worse, I couldn’t connect to the Internet. My new modem was, to coin a phrase, dead in the water.

Therefore, I called the help desk on my cellphone and was transferred to one tech assistant in India. I told him my problem. He resolved the phone problem but transferred me to a person in Honduras to address the other issues. She worked on the Internet and got me connected.

I was delighted. Everything was back to normal until I needed to print some documents. It was then that I noticed the Wi-Fi blue light on the printer was blinking. I called the Comcast help desk again. This tech person was from the Philippines, and I told her that my printer wasn’t connected to my modem. She ran several tests that the other technicians had done. She reported that all was well with my modem and said that I needed to call HP’s help desk. In fact, she gave me their number.

I called HP’s help desk, and they transferred me to a tech support person who also happened to live in the Philippines. I explained the litany of problems that I had with my new modem, which have been all resolved. However, my printer wasn’t able to connect with the modem. She did another diagnostic test and said that she would do two things. She would replace the drivers. Then she deleted my user name and password with Comcast and then reinstalled them.

In a matter of a half-hour, my printer was printing. Happy Days had finally returned, and everything was functioning. So, what were the takeaways from a near chaotic meltdown of my computer, phone, and printer?

The first thing was that I had talked with four people: one Indian, one Honduran, and two Filipinos. America has some serious issues related to racism. One central issue is white racism in America related to communities of color.

Some Americans have issues with any person who isn’t like them meaning white. Many are white supremacists, from people like Trump and his lemmings to the average person on the street. Their problem is their own inferiority, which causes them to attack anybody, not like them. They are fearful that those others will be replacing them.

Let me tell the white supremacists a secret. They will be replaced by people of diverse backgrounds who want to help America and the world. I talked to four technicians who had a common mantra. When I told them my problem, they heard my concerns. I live and work on a computer all the time. Their response to me was not to worry, and they would fix it. That statement was repeated several times by each of those four tech assistants as they delved into my problems. There were three Asians and one Central American who wanted to help me. Sure, Comcast or HP was paying them, but that wasn’t what drove them.

They were a small group of people who were functioning as Good Samaritans. In biblical times, Samaritans were the other people, the foreigners. Being good and Samaritans weren’t related; they were seen as opposites. The term, Good Samaritans, was counterintuitive.

As all those thoughts raced around in my head, I just sat there and pondered. I must have sat there for several minutes, apparently waiting for some insight. Then it came. A couple of years ago, I removed a pyracantha bush from my backyard. I had planted it two decades ago, and it had grown to be about ten feet high and nearly that wide. However, it had entered its twilight years and was dying due to old age. Finally, I just cut it down and cleared the area.

I got up, got my camera, and told Ginger that we were going to the backyard where I took this picture. I told Ginger to sit next to the resurrected pyracantha bush. The pyracantha bush is a pictorial metaphor for me, my computer, and Ginger.