Polarity check

Sometimes saving face is important


5/10/20231 min read

This is one of my favorite stories from my earlier days because it is 100% mine.

One of my patrons/users was a physician who was trying to use a remote resource. Gentle reader, these were the early days of online resources and things were dial-up using modems (!)

Sidebar: I'll post sometime one of my earliest experiences with dial-up & a 300 baud thermal printer terminal with acoustic cups for an old fashion phone - but another day ;-)

Anyway, Doc calls me & says my resource is not working because his computer isn't working. (???) So I ask the usual few questions:

  • Is the monitor turned on?

  • Is the computer turned on?

  • Is the modem turned on ?(I know, doesn't matter if the computer is offline, but gotta ask)

  • Is the system plugged in?

He has answered "Yes" to all the above. I suggest we do a "polarity check". I ask him if he can unplug the computer, turn the plug 90 degrees, and plug it back in (think about that for a second - three prong plug)

He does & lo & behold, his computer comes on!

I tell him "yes, sounds like it needed a polarity check" and he's happy... (and I keep my job & don't get in trouble...)