Nobody knows who plays the pranks around here, or why things break. They should check in on the guy with too much happy in his go lucky. That would be me. This week, rather than swapping the logic board in the printer with something I stole from a voting machine, I hijacked Peave's login. I didn't get clever and run tcpdump on the network or install a keystroke logger on his machine. I went low tech. I slipped him a Mickey. Unfortunately, he wasn't logged into Facebook, or I would have posted a bunch of photos. Best. Selfie. Monday. EVAR. I stole his login and byline to complain. I don't normally write Op-Eds about day to day life. I'm not the kind of person who needs to give a facebook update on every morsel of food I eat. But this week, I about lost my mind because of the failure of a piece of technology, and the failure of the corporate institution supporting it. After several hours of having my intelligence insulted and listening to the Nutcracker as hold music, I resolved that somebody was getting Peaved for this. It all began one morning when I tried to shut the alarm off on my phone. I managed that. Then the phone wanted to add a blue tooth device. I said no. It tried again. And again. And again. I scrambled around trying to find the random blue tooth device attempting to access my phone. After disassembling all the smoke detectors to check for hidden cameras I came to the correct conclusion: a button must be stuck. Buttons being stuck I can handle. But this phone was an ancient, indestructible, carpenter-proof model. The sales gimp told me it could still function when submerged in 50 feet of water. Like any call is that important when you are scuba diving. The phone being water-proof made it screwdriver resistant. After an hour I got the thing apart and discovered what was causing the short circuit. The culprit was my beard. Four hairs that were were lodged under the keypad. How does one get beard hair into a water-proof phone? Perhaps I have a quantum beard. Meanwhile I went on down to Verizon and bought a new phone. Sales guy could not save my contacts. There I was, trying to figure out everybody's phone number. Helpful sales guy told me I could do it online. He was wrong. I share my Verizon account with someone. I could have charged my new phone to someone else without showing ID, but their website would not give me access to my itemized bill. I could pay, check minutes, sign up for more services, but not see who called the day before. Helpful tech support guy in the chat window spent two hours guiding me to menus that did not exist. The website wanted to upgrade my account and add a new login, complete with a secret question about my first pet. It would not let me make up my own security question. It would also not let me have “Your Mother!” as the answer to “Who was your first pet?” I eventually asked tech support guy to email me my bill. He claimed he was not allowed. I told him to ask permission. “Your boss wants to make me happy.” He told me he wanted to make me happy too. I was going to have him look into becoming An Hero. He could make me happy by doing that. I decided to resort to threats instead. I explained to him I am a writer for a news outlet and that he was earning himself the review from hell. I gave him a choice, give me my bill or things would go badly. I was already going through my drawer of deadly items to select an implement. Mommy said the pen is mightier than the sword, so here we are. Tech support guy told me he was legally not permitted to give out confidential client information. Verizon gives my metadata to the NSA. But they won't give it to me. “The legal department won't let me.” He gave me a phone number that was allegedly to the legal department. This was another lie from Verizon, the number wasn't to the legal department, it was to hold music purgatory. Which was followed by an automated menu, followed by more listening to the Nutcracker hold music. Finally I got another tech support guy on the phone. He wasted two hours of my life. Eventually I had the other account holder intervene, as all my efforts were in vain. Verizon manages to send my metadata to NSA's but they won't see to get me my bill. Thanks Verizon, here is your review, and if I wasn't locked into your stupid contract, some other company would be pimping my metadata to the feds. Happy Holidays, I want you to be my An Hero.

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