John Brandi 9 p.m., Sept. 17
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My Heroes, The Geek Squad
They are my heroes. Two husky, hunky, he-men possessed of technological ability far beyond that of us mere mortals, they arrive at my house promptly at 8:30 a.m., on a SUNDAY, no less, when lesser mortals would be whimpering in their beds, nursing their Coors Light hangovers. These guys just power down a couple of Santana’s breakfast burritos apiece with extra hot sauce and hit the road. They are like superheroes, pulling up in their cool #13 Geek Squad van, a real, bone-fide van, like the A-Team, not some candy-ass soccer-dad mini-van. I’ll give you a little back-story as to how I was fortunate enough to have these tenured professors of all things techno grace my pathetically techno-phobic domain, but first a brief montage to the coolness of all things geek:
The Rad Van
So, this all started about three weeks ago, when right in the middle of the movie “Doubt” our DVD player decides to gasp its last ten year-old breath. Bummed but resolved to replace it with a most likely much more technologically advanced device, we switch back to network TV and plan a trip to Best Buy the following day.
Next morning we toodle our way down to the Mission Valley Best Buy, actually a little excited about our new purchase, as we have not so much as looked at let alone purchased a new electronic device in at least eight years, with the exception of my now four year-old and probably on its last legs laptop and my recent Blackberry (which I, upon finally mastering its many abilities, ADORE), and are anxious to see what advances have been made in the DVD player arena.
Well, let me tell, a lot of advances have been made, what with the DVD players now being able to stream directly from your wireless network, and sporting USB and camera card ports to watch slideshows of your photos - you name it, these new machines are amazing. Our lovely salesgirl is explaining all the new features, while we absorb all this new information with a sensation something akin to anticipation mingled with dread.
You see, being of a somewhat impatient nature, my husband and I have what you might call a low threshold for frustration, the sort of folks for whom the phrase “turn-key” was made. We have made many times in the past, before we consolidated our remotes, an entry into one of the remotes that rendered the screen a snowy blizzard, unable to recall the path that led to this dilemma and unable to get a picture back. The conversation then goes something like this: “WHAT DID YOU DO? OH, MY GOD, GET THE PICTURE BACK!!!” “I DON’T KNOW, I CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT!!” We would then proceed to call Cox Cable, who would kindly reset our box remotely and re-establish peace in our living room. They have since replaced our cable box, which went on the kaput about six months ago, and god love ‘em, got rid of the extra remotes, replacing them with a universal.
We decide on a Panasonic, that being the brand of our TV and our recently deceased DVD player, and also purchase an adapter cord of some sort because our TV is an older model high-def and for some reason expensive add-ons are necessary to make this all work. They suggest we have the Geek Squad install it for a mere $129.00, which my husband dismisses with a wave of his hand. “I can figure it out.” We get it home, take it out of the box, unhook the old one and start plugging the cords into the new one. Only, there are six areas to plug cords into on the new one, and eight cords came out of the old one. Huh. We can get a picture, but no sound. Just a loud hum. Now I am getting frustrated. I can see what is going to happen. “WHAT’S WRONG? I KNEW WE SHOULD HAVE HAD THE GEEK SQUAD COME OUT!! WHY CAN’T YOU GET IT TO WORK? TAKE IT BACK. I’LL FIND OUR OLD MODEL ON E-BAY!!” My husband, “I DON’T KNOW, FINE, I’LL RETURN IT!!”
He takes it back to Best Buy, and I embark on a quest to find a replacement, which proves fruitless. Every other technologically challenged person in the world has bought up the old DVD players to replace their defunct ones, this confirmed by a few Craig’s List calls for our old model. “The minute I placed the ad someone called.”
Unfortunately, rather than keep up with the latest gadgets every year, we replace our electronics and technological devices only when they break, so we are sometimes perplexed when upon purchase of a more sophisticated replacement we are confronted with the 300 page instruction book for its use and/or installation. Being possessed of what we consider at least a passable level of intelligence in all other areas of life, my husband and I prefer to hurl blame back and forth at the other for not knowing how to navigate these instructions with ease and have said device working in a matter of minutes. This time, I knew I was beat, and so did he. After the old player sat on the shelf with its cords hanging out for three weeks, a useless and constant reminder of our incompetence, I said “that’s it. I’m calling the Geek Squad.”
This was the best move I have made in my life (well, in a long time). We went back and repurchased the same model, confirmed that the adaptor cord was the right one (the first one was not and could explain at least some of our inability to get it to work) and then made the call. I tentatively asked if it would be possible to come out on a Saturday, and they suggested Sunday, which was even better! The nice guy on the phone took a bunch of information about the state of our entertainment system, and the age, etc. of its components so the Geeks would be prepared.
Sunday they arrive and I am in the other room getting ready to go out for the morning, but I can hear signs of progress. The next thing I know, the overhead speakers are tied into the remote, the auxiliary button has taken on a whole new meaning, and new life has been breathed into our television viewing life. It is with much embarrassment that I admit that for the last two years we have been paying for high-definition cable, its working condition being confirmed by the Cox Cable employee who installed it, only to find out it had never been hooked-up. The Geeks got the high-def going, and it is now like we have been living in the dark for the last several years. Even if we had been able to get the DVD player working, we would not have had all the other amazing features figured out and we would have wound up paying for an expensive DVD player without utilizing all of its capabilities.
So, Geek Squad, I owe you a great debt of gratitude. $129.00 is a small price to pay for the wealth of knowledge you brought, along with the peace you restored in my now electronically upgraded home. I feel a little more with it, and my husband is ecstatic watching the bike races in high-def. Continue to wear your Geek badges with pride, you great American heroes, you kings of cool, and I will continue to sing your praises…..
Real American Heroes, Mr. Geek Squad cool van drivin’ DVD player installers……