I have become known at my library as the dude who knows how to deal with computers. I’m not in IT, and I don’t know shit about hardware, but I’m pretty good at figuring out what is causing an error, or how to perform a task in a specific program.
I have also joked repeatedly that all I really need to do is stand near one of the student computers in the library and it’ll start working again. I’ve no idea why, but for some reason errors that happen repeatedly just go away whenever I come to look at the computer.
Last week, I helped a student who was having issues with his laptop. Multiple programs had frozen, but he hadn’t saved his paper, and luckily I was able to get it working long enough for him to save three straight days of work that he otherwise would’ve lost. It’s worth noting that I spent most of the time I was trying to fix it whispering, “C’mon, baby, work with me” at his computer, because… just because, okay. It’s what I do, it works, don’t question it.
Anyway, I was around late at work last night, waiting for my ride, when the student worker came back to my office and said there was a small group of students looking for me, and could I give them a hand even though I was off the clock?
Sure, why not.
I came out to find a group of six students, including the guy I helped last week, at a table clustered around one laptop. I rolled up, said, “Hey, what can I help you with?”, and the guy said, “Can you just hang out here for a second?”
Sure, my dude. I’m off the clock, I’m listening to a podcast, I can chill at a table with your group until my ride shows up, if you want.
So I spend some time flipping through my phone, only half paying attention, figuring they’re finishing something up and they’ll ask their question as soon as they’re done. But after a minute, the guy says, “It worked!” and there was a chorus of excitement from the rest of the group. They all thanked me, and excused themselves to go back to class.
Turns out they had a group presentation, and the laptop they were trying to present from had froze up on them. Not knowing what to do, this guy apparently told his group there was a computer wizard in the library, and that merely being in my presence might be enough to fix it. To be fair, he… was not wrong.
I just find it delightful that this has become such A Thing that students are now seeking me out. Not to ask a question, or get some help, but just to stand near their device and share my mythical computer-fixing aura. It’s like being a terribly benign cryptid.
You’re the Installation Wizard’s cousin
This is also a power I possess. It used to drive my students slightly crazy, because they would want to show me a problem, and I’d come over and go “okay, let’s see what’s up” and then things would just, work? And they would sigh heavily.