"Customer support, may I help you?"
"I'd like to open a support call."
"Very good. My name is Bob. How may I help you?"
Great, I thought to myself. I am connected with the only Bob in Hyderabad.
"My system is being flaky," I said.
"I am very much afraid I do not have a problem resolution form for 'flaky,'" said Bob. "Could you be more specific?"
"Well, sometimes it slows down, kicks out errors."
"Read to me please the error you are receiving," said Bob.
"It's not always a specific error."
"Read to me then a nonspecific error for my problem resolution form," Bob persisted.
"I give up," I said.
"Is that the entire nonspecific message?" asked Bob.
I was only vaguely aware that I'd spoken aloud. But yes, that seemed to pinpoint the problem pretty well.
"Yes," I said. "I get a popup window that says, 'I give up.' If I click OK the system shuts down. If I hit escape it keeps running, but is very unstable."
"I see," said Bob. "What are you doing when you receive the message 'I give up?'"
The usual stuff, I thought. Nothing special.
"Not really doing anything special," I said.
"Let me see," said Bob. "Your system is doing nothing special, it says 'I give up' and if you don't shut it down it is very unstable? Actually, we see this quite a bit with your particular system, so you are most fortunate. I believe we can fix you right up."
"First off, are you aware that your system was designed to extremely high specifications? Very high memory, fast coprocessors, high-speed bus. Really quite wonderful, if I do say so myself. In fact, our documentation says it is 'fearfully and wonderfully made' -- and I don't think that is an exaggeration."
I replied, "That's great Bob, but what's your point?"
"Aha, my point, yes," Bob said. "You say your system breaks down when you are doing nothing special, yes? But your system was designed specifically to do special things. You see? You are not using it for its intended purpose and so it -- how do you say -- goes flaky."
"So, what do you recommend?"
"First, get your operators manual. You still have it? It was black-bound, very thick, tiny print. Some of the important parts are highlighted in red?"
"Here it is. I was using it as a coaster."
"Actually," said Bob, "the manual is a bit over-engineered to be a coaster, but that is another issue. Would you like to open a ticket on that as well?"
"Very good. You need to read that manual. It has details about how your system was engineered. It includes very clear examples of how it should be used.
"I think you will find," Bob continued, "that if you stop using the system for 'nothing special' you will see its performance perk right up."
"Uh, I don't have time to read all that now," I said. "Can you give me a synopsis of the important points?"
"Oh, surely. The maker's manual is really quite specific about this. In fact, it refers to these specifications as 'commandments' sometimes. I would refer you to Mark 12:30-31 and Matthew 28: 19-21."
I flipped quickly to the first:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."
Then to the second:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Even as I read these directives, I could feel my system quickening, coming alive with power and light.
Of course, I thought, pouring all this power into love, into praising the maker of the system would be awesome! And then what would be better than spreading the word to everyone else who had the same problems?
"Say Bob?" I asked. "You have any openings there on the help desk?"
There was a pause, then, "Actually, you would be surprised how hard it is to get good people up here."
"I would be honored to forward your resume to the manufacturer."
"Thanks Bob," I said. "And I guess you can close that ticket."
Al Boyce is a former writer and reporter for The Associated Press. He lives in Raleigh, NC, where he now writes for God.
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