Chip Soup: The Marxist theory of computer repair

Dumont: Excuse me, but is this the Customer Service Department? The nice lady at the front desk sent me here for my sick computer.

Firefly: Sorry, but we don’t sell sick computers, although we do like to spread viruses.

Dumont: I’m afraid you misunderstand me. I brought my computer in for repairs last week.

Firefly: And what do you expect us to do with it? Remove random .DLLs? Break the pins off the CPU? Install Microsoft Office, Lotus Smartsuite, and PerfectOffice onto the 500MB drive and forget to give it an operating system?

Dumont: I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Firefly: That’s the problem with this industry. You need excitement! You need challenge! You need to be on the Internet. You know what the Internet is, don’t you? It’s a wide-area network. Say, you cover a pretty wide area yourself. How do you manage it with such narrow bandwidth?

Dumont: Last week I brought in my computer for repair. It was a fine computer, left to me by my dear departed husband, along with the rest of his considerable fortune.

Firefly: Can’t you see what I’m trying to tell you…I love you! Let’s get married and interface together. Maybe I can do a little work on your I/O problem.

Dumont: I don’t like your innuendoes!

Firefly: That’s what I always say: Apple stock goes down the tubes when programs load in your Windows. Let me call my two assistants and see if they’ve worked on your computer. And if they have, it should make a nice little tea cozy by now. Baravelli?! Pinky?!

Baravelli: What’sa matta, boss? This customer givin’ you a hard time?

Pinky: Honk!

Firefly: Have either of you Z-80s seen this lady’s computer?

Baravelli: No. So, lady, what’sa this computer look-a like?

Dumont: Well, it’s light gray, about a foot and a half high, with floppy and CD-ROM drives in the front, and it plugs into a keyboard and monitor.

Baravelli: Ah, a Pentium. Sorry, we no see it.

Pinky: Honk!

Dumont: But it’s right over there!

Firefly: Oh, so that’s your game, is it? Just when you tell us it isn’t there you point it out to us. I bet you knew it wasn’t there all along. Baravelli, have a look at it.

Baravelli: Ah, that’sa the problem. The case isa closed. How can we fixa da computer if the case isa closed? Pinky, helpa me open uppa this case.

Pinky: Honk!

Baravelli: No, Pinky, puta down that crowbar. This is delicate work. Thatsa right–use the sledgehammer. Good work, Pinky! Now we can look inside and see whatsa wrong. Hey, whatsa all a’this?

Firefly: Those? Those are circuits.

Baravelli: You know, I lovea circuits–especially the clowns and elephants.

Firefly: You know, Bill Gates could use a brain like yours as a tax write-off. Let me explain, Baravelli. Data flows from the memory to the CPU over this wire trace…

Baravelli: Alright. Why a trace?

Firefly: I don’t know, but I wish you’d disappear without one. As I was saying, data flows from the memory to the CPU over this wire trace…

Baravelli: Alright. Why a trace?

Firefly: Excuse me, but did you just invent artificial stupidity? Like I said, data flows from the memory to the CPU over this wire trace…

Baravelli: Alright. Why a trace?

Firefly: I think this is what programmers call an infinite loop. You don’t come with a ‘stop’ command, do you?

Baravelli: Pinky, lend me that sledgehammer. Aha! ‘Atsa the problem. Your hard drive is all fragmented. You need Irving’s Utilities.

Firefly: I do? How much is it?

Baravelli: It’s a forty dollahs. But tella you what. I can let you have it for fifty.

Firefly: Fair enough. Here you go. Thank you. Hey, now what am I supposed to do with it?

Baravelli: Reada the doc.

Firefly: But I’m not sick.

Baravelli: No, the doc is a book. You can have it for…fifty dollahs.

Firefly: Fifty dollars? Will you take my credit card?

Baravelli: Yes, but I no give it back.

Firefly: Well, that’s a credit to your operating system. I’ll pay in cash. Thank you. Hey, I can’t read this! It’s full of acronyms.

Baravelli: Ah, those justa letters. Look them up in thata other book–you know, "Documentation for Imbeciles."

Firefly: Do you know where I can get it…as if I didn’t know.

Baravelli: Well, it justa so happens I gotta copy righta here.

Firefly: Let me guess–fifty dollars?

Baravelli: Boss, justa for you, I let you have it for free.

Firefly: Oh, well, okay. In that case…

Baravelli: Just a sixty-dollar download fee.

Firefly: But it’s right here, printed on paper.

Baravelli: That makes it a very slow download.

Dumont: Gentlemen, what about my computer?

Firefly: Your computer? I just put $210 into it. Doesn’t that make it my computer? Look, why do you want that computer? It’s old, warn-out, out of date. Come to think of it, so are you. But for $4,000, I can get you a computer worth $2,500. As soon as you take it home it’ll run this year’s software. By next year, it’ll run last year’s software. In two years, it’ll run your hopes into the ground.

Dumont: Well, I never!

Firefly: And the human race is grateful. Goodbye.

Pinky: Honk!

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