Trying to Comprehend a Lack of Understanding
Help desk humor was born from the use of computers at the end of the 20th century. Increased computer use resulted in the creation of help desks. Then came the frequently asked questions of both trouble shooting and technical support. From these were spawned what are considered frequently asked stupid questions.
The Only Stupid Question
Have you ever heard that the only stupid question is the one that is not asked.
If you subscribe to the philosophy that there are no stupid questions, then you have a bit of philosophizing to be able to explain these.
Perhaps more incredulous than the questions is when the survey was completed. That you will find at the end of the survey answers.
The survey came from more than 1,400 telephone interviews with professionals in U.S. companies having 100 or more employees.
The queries and quandaries presented to the help desks prove a simple scientific fact. Nothing is fool proof to a talented fool. The following are the results of the survey. Some were statements. We are sure you can imagine the accompanying question.
Help Desk Humor: The Survey
A lizard crawled into my server.
How do I get my computer’s coffee cup holder to come out?
Help Desk Humor and the Strange Requests for Help
How do I read my e-mail?
Can you build me a robot?
Can you reset the Internet for me?
There are animal crackers in my CD-ROM drive.
Can you rearrange the keyboard alphabetically?
My laptop was run over by a truck. What should I do?
Why isn’t my wireless mouse connected to the computer? My computer is telling me to press any key to continue. Where is the ‘any’ key?
Some users reported problems with mice and other pests. To be sure, they did not call about the electronic kind -- To wit:
A skunk ate my cable.
Can you get the mice out of the ceiling?
A server went down, and I found a lizard had crawled into it and died.
Some requests indicated more than trouble of a technical kind. Consider some examples:
Can you install cable TV on my PC?
I’d like to stop receiving e-mail on Fridays.
How can I block e-mail from my manager?
Can I open the bank safe using my computer?
Can you order joysticks so that we can play video games?
The last list gives new credence to the phrase, A man has to know his limitations.
The elevator is broken
Can you fix my typewriter?
Where can I locate dry ice?
Can you repair my motorbike?
How do I wire a robotic turkey?
Can you come and install my car stereo?
Where can I get software to track UFOs?
Can you tell me the weather forecast for next year?
I’d like wireless computer access in my motor home.
How long does it take to bake a potato in a microwave?
My daughter is locked in the bathroom, can you pick the lock?
The survey was created by Robert Half Technology, a provider of information technology professionals, provided new understanding of peoples understanding of computers. It was released in September 2008.
Incongruence humor such as in help desk humor can be used effectively in public speaking humor if you do not use it expecting to get a laugh. If you do get a laugh, you win. Failure to get a laugh when not expecting it is just speechmastery.
Which of these are you guilty of, er eh, is your favorite? Please share your thoughts and any others you may know. Just keep it family friendly. And remember, there are those who do things in life with the sole purpose of making the rest of us not look stupid. It is a thankless glamorourless job that has to be done. Show a little respect for their sacrifice.