VOODOO COMPUTER HEALER
By Jerry J. Davis (c) 1997 by Jerry J. Davis Previously Accepted for Publication by Zone 9 Magazine I consider myself lucky that I discovered everything I knew about life and the physical universe was wrong. Lucky not only because of the discovery, but also because I was young when the revelation occurred. Had I been older I would have rejected it as nonsense.
Music, attitude, and your point of view can change things beyond belief. An energy, a positive force, can be generated.
Magic can be done.
Listen to this!
There was a computer store in Cameron Cove, California –
part of a major chain – that had a golden year. It became a sort of Camelot. Through the random processes of physics, the right elements just happened to fall in place at the right time.
Remember, given enough time the unlikely will occur.
At the time I was hired, there were four others working there:
Janet, the receptionist – a bright, cheerful mother who’s kids had grown old enough for her to go back to work. That she needed the extra money was beside the point … she wanted to go back to work, she was happy about it.
There was Nick, the manager – an optimistic ex-used car salesman from New Jersey. He was a friendly, generous person.
Easy-going. Definitely not the management type.
There was also Bob, a slick, go-for-the-throat salesman with the remarkable ability of not being sleazy. He was just doing it to work his way through college. It wasn’t his life, so he wasn’t bitter about it.
Now Steve, he could have been my brother. We even looked alike. Same hair, same beard, except that he had brown hair and I have red. He was a salesman too, but he was the nice-guy type who relied on the customers who liked to do business with him.
Now here were the elements: Janet, Nick, Bob and Steve. And myself. And music.
It started with the music. Nick liked music, and we always had the stereo pumping the B-52’s or the Talking Heads through the store’s sound system. Living, jumping music, full of positive energy.
Janet had never really heard these groups before, and she would smile when we played them. “I like this!” she’d say. “Who is this?” She said this all the time, with each new group we introduced to the store.
When I first came to work there was a mountain of dead computers to fix, a really bad back load of work left over from my predecessor – a negative person, from what I’d heard about him.
A real ogre. Hated customers, hated fellow employees, loved only his computer – and only his computer. He now makes six figures programming for the Department of Defense. You know – space based weapon systems?
So all these inert, dead computers he left behind had owners who needed them back. Needed them living, working, running their businesses and doing their taxes. Entertaining their children. And they would call everyday, begging for their machines back.
Screaming at me! Calling me names! Sucking away all my positive energy and leaving me dry like a sack of old sticks.
When the music played, however, it was different. Music made things flow. Music lubricated things, eased frictions, speeded work. I started catching up.
Janet would walk into the tech room every once in a while just to watch and smile. Nick would wander back to get away from the pressures of his job, and stand there listening to the music.
His feet would start tapping, then his head would sway. At one point he began to mimic playing the drums. When Steve saw this, he came back and began playing the “air guitar” – unlike myself, these guys both had musical backgrounds – so “air guitars,” “air drums,” and jam sessions were part of their everyday lives. It was inevitable. Inevitable! Steve and Nick jamming, and I’d start to dance. Janet laughed, thinking this was the greatest thing she’d ever seen, and I said, “Come on! Dance with me!”
“You guys are crazy!”
Her grin straightened out. She thought a moment. Then she let go and we were dancing, dancing, bodies gyrating to that spring-gone-haywire beat, bouncing and jumping and laughing about it all. Steve playing that phantom guitar, Nick slamming out that beat on the tech bench with pencils. Bob, hearing all the laughter, excused himself from a customer and came back to see what was happening. His face lit up like a sunny day at the beach.
“Yes!” he said. “Yes! I like it! I like working here.” He went back to the sales floor and sold a big, fat computer system.
It was energy we were generating, living positive energy. It flowed out of that tech room and filled the whole store. The building vibrated with it. It was alive, living.
Now, computers are neutral things. Not living yet not dead, not smart but full of thought. Not its own thoughts – our thoughts. The thoughts of the user and the thoughts of the programmer. So, depending on who is using it and what program it’s running, a computer can become positive or negative.
Over the hours and days of good feelings and good times, the positive energy in that tech room became so intense I could feel it like heat. While the music played and my friends were happy, I worked on those poor, sick, dead computers … I felt the energy flowing down my arms, through my hands, and into what I was doing.
Spare parts were becoming more and more unnecessary. Things, in their odd electronic ways, were beginning to simply heal.
Nick noticed this first. He wanted to know why my tech room was suddenly so much more profitable. “I’m fixing the boards,” I told him, “instead of replacing them.”
“You can do that?”
He smiled and nodded. Things were looking up. Sales had climbed to an all-time high as well. “Maybe,” he said, “maybe we should cut the repair prices down. Do ya think?”
“It wouldn’t hurt us,” I told him.
“I want to do that,” he said. “That’ll really make our customer’s happy, wouldn’t it?”
“Okay. Do it. Start giving them a break.” He was happy. He was being nice, and it felt good – especially since he didn’t have to be nice. It irritated him when he had to be nice, but when it was of his own free will, of the genuine goodness of his heart, it felt great. It pumped the positive energy up another notch in the store, as well.
He was right, too – the customers were happy. Mr. John P.
Galmore had been quoted $350 for his IBM repair, and we only charged him $220. Wayne Trapper thought it was going to be $175 to get his laptop back, but it only cost him $90. Little Jimmy Malcot got his Macintosh repaired for only $25 instead of $110. Nick even gave him some games for free.
Two weeks later Jimmy’s father came in – Mr. Malcot of Malcot Industries – and bought $350,000 worth of equipment. He did this because of what we had done for his son. Nick was ecstatic! What we were doing was paying off. Everyone was winning.
Everyone felt good!
We had a little party one day after work, celebrating yet another record breaking month. During the party an old man in a sports jacket banged on the front door even though the store was obviously closed. He looked through the window at us with a desperate expression.
Nick let him in. “I’m a writer,” the man said to Nick. “The only copy of my novel is on this computer, and the computer stopped working.”
Nick swore to himself. “If there’s something wrong with your hard drive,” Nick told the writer, “your novel may be gone. And when it’s gone, it’s gone.”
The writer looked stricken. “It’s the only copy I have.”
Now Nick was gritting his teeth and frowning. This sounded like a really bad scene. “You didn’t print any of it out or anything?”
“No.” The man was on the verge of tears. “I’ve been working on it for four years. Nothing like this has ever happened.”
“Well, we’ll get our tech working on it,” Nick said. “I can’t promise anything, but if anyone can save your novel, he can.”
We put it on my work bench and plugged it in. Turned it on.
There was a humming sound, and garbage – looking a lot like Egyptian hieroglyphics – filled the screen. “It’s trying to boot,” I said, “but either the main board is damaged or there’s scrambled data on the hard drive.”
“Oh,” Nick said. Everyone had grim expressions. I tried another test with a floppy disk. The computer started and ran through its paces, but as soon as I tried to access the hard drive it came to a halt. More garbage filled the screen. “The trouble is in the hard drive, all right,” I said.