The Tragedy of DSL

Author’s Note: This column is still available at the ComputerUser Web site. However, I’m reposting it here because they didn’t properly format a play in verse.


Act 1

Recording: Thy call’s gone through to Broadband ISP.
To order DSL please dial a One.
If billing questions have thee, then press Two.
If trouble with thy line, please dial a Three.
We value great thy call, so be not cold;
For fifteen minutes more now wait on hold.

(30 minutes later)
Technician 1: My name be John. What problem do you have?

Hamlet: A heart so full of woe to shame the gods.
My father dead. My mother newly wed
To mine own uncle who hath stole my crown.
But worst of all, like demon born of Hell,
Connection’s lost; I hath no DSL.

Tech1: I sorry am. Is thy computer on?

Ham: It is.

Tech1:        And that does not the problem solve?

Ham: A boot cannot return me to the Net.

Tech1: Then follow this advice, unlucky soul.
Format thy disk, then Windows reinstall.

Ham: ‘Z wounds! Tis hard. Is there no other way?

Tech1: Nay. None. Do you these things of which I say.
And if connection fair thou can’t reclaim
Call back, and thou make ask for me by name.

Act II

Technician 2: My name be Sue. What problem do you have?

Ham: To John I must now speak. Please transfer me.

Tech2: A John I do not know. Perhaps he works
In office far away. So spread are we
That I know not if Texas or Japan
Is where he sits. Did family name he give?

Ham: Alas, did not. Nor state the place he works.

Tech2: He should have. If a call back he did ask.

Ham: And will thou give me last name and address?

Tech2: I would except our rules say I cannot.
I ask again what problem do you have?

Ham: My DSL connection doth not work.

Tech2: I sorry am. Is thy computer on?

Ham: It tis. And that does not the problem solve.
Nor Windows reinstall, for this I’ve tried.

Tech 2: Fear not, brave soul. To hope thou must now cling.
Your sometime broad IP address I’ll ping.
Alas, now mourn. My ping tis all tim’d out.
There’s no more I can do.

Ham:                                    Is all now lost?

Tech 2: Not yet. For I will pass thy problem on.
Another call thy’ll get within three days.
Then bits of Web will be there for thy viewing
Once help’d by one who knows what he is doing.


Technician 3: My name be Ted. What problem do you have?

Ham: I’ve call’d you once, then twice, and now time three
Because my DSL doth not connect.
No pages from the Web come through its line,
Nor e-mail lovely from Ophelia fair.
A week ago fair Sue, one of your own,
Did try to ping my line without success.
She promis-ed a call I would receive.
A week’s gone by, yet I’ve receiv’d no call.
Can you connect me to this wiser soul?

Tech3: I’m sorry, I cannot, though great thy woe.
Our rules say that before wise ones are call’d
We must run tests, be dusk or noon or dawn.
So now the first: Is thou computer on?

Ham: Aye, that it is. I’ve been through this before.
And formatted my disk upon request.
Must I go through this torture once again?

Tech3: Perchance thou won’t. I’ll tell thee what I’ll do.
I’ll phone our wisest leader and I’ll ask
If you could be put through to one who knows.
Please hold a bit.

Ham:                   Thank you. I’ll do just that.

Tech3: (Aside) The fool’s on hold, and trusting as a pup.
I’ll let him wait awhile and then hang up.

Act IV

Technician 4: My name be Kim. What problem do you have?

Ham: My anger waxes greater than a bear
Whose fair abode’s been turn’d to tourist trap.
The Internet to me is wholly block’d
With DSL that’s dead as most dot coms.
Your person, name of Ted, did hang me up
When promis’d he to put me through at last
To some wise soul who’d calm my fever’d brow.

Tech4: Thy DSL is dead? Then I must ask
One question…

Ham:              I know. My computer’s on?
I’ve reinstall’d my Windows. Did not help.
I have been ping’d, that too to no avail.
And promises I’ve heard of experts’ calls.
Yet still no data comes from off the Net.

Tech4: I understand. Please let me take a look.
What ho? For sooth! My gosh! What have we here?
I see a little switch that hath been flipp’d.
I’ll simply…that was it. Now does it work?

Ham: It does! I’m on the line! Oh, joyful day!
Pages from the Web downloading quick!
My e-mail’s here, with Spam both straight and gay
And viruses! Enough to make thee sick.
I thank you, but I have one question more:
No broadband have I had for o’er a week.
Will that affect the bill I pay this month?

Tech4: It shan’t. For we would never charge you more
For little thing like service we depriv’d.

Ham: Will you charge less?

Tech4:                               We might. I do not know.
Please call someone in Bills. They’ll tell you so.

Act V

Clerk: My name be Dan. What problem do you have?

Ham: For eight straight days, my DSL work’d not.
Thy people did not try to get it right
Until this very hour, when good Kim
Did flip a switch, and my connection lives.
So now, oh Dan in Bills, I wish to ask
That I not pay for service for last week.

Clerk: I’m sorry, your request cannot go through.
‘tis most against a policy we state
Quite clearly on our Web site if you click
The link that says “Thou’st never should go here.”

Ham: A minute. Let me check that grievous news
To find that claim that most affronts mine ears.
Alas! Those words with my eyes shan’t be read.
The DSL so short regain’d is dead.




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