Why They Put Solitaire on Computers

My productivity dropped like a laptop into the lake when I got my fancy, new PC. That’s partly because, for non-geeks like me, the only thing worse than a dead computer is the learning curve on a new one.

Besides that, my new computer has a wide screen, covered with time-wasting temptations, like the news, Facebook, Google Earth, and many others that would be even more tempting if I knew what they were for. It also features twice as many solitaire games as my old computer did. And it has the latest version of the software I use for actual work, which can be a big distraction from solitaire. 

But the worst threat to my productivity comes from a certain flaw my marvelous new software has in its email function. Naturally, I assumed it was user error, which is what anyone who knows me would suspect first. 

I sought help from my internet service provider. I didn’t mind that they put me on hold because when the going gets tough, the tough can play Free Cell. (That’s one version of computer solitaire, for those of you who still use cards.) I can play Free Cell happily for hours, which is lucky because that’s how long I was on hold before the technician picked up and told me he couldn’t help me anyway. 

Next, I called the dealer who had downloaded the software. A polite recording informed me they were “experiencing a high volume of calls.” No problem. I put my cordless phone on speaker, set it down, and played Pyramid while it alternately blasted classical music and the not-so-reassuring message, “Your call is important to us. Please play solitaire while you wait for the next available technician.” Maybe I don’t have that quite right. 

Days later, someone answered. I picked up the phone, and in the process, hung up on them. 

Oh well. (Though that’s not what I said when I realized I’d hung up.) During my sixth game of Pyramid, I had decided that maybe I should be calling the software company instead. So I tried that next. I played nine games of Klondike while I waited for a representative to answer and give me his version of “I’m sorry. We can’t help you.”

He did, however, give me the website address for online tech support. That meant creating a password, getting an account, and waiting for a confirmation email. I played four more games while I waited. The confirmation led me to a page of photos from which I could choose the tech person I wanted to chat with online. That’s how I met Joseph, the latest in a long line of people who couldn’t help me. I never did feel good about meeting men online.

Joseph told me that his help might actually void my warranty. I asked him if putting my foot through the monitor might also void my warranty, because that was looking like my only other option. 

He suggested that before I did that, I call the computer manufacturer. I did, and after agreeing to pay a large sum of money, playing several games of Tri-Peaks, and bumping my head on my desk while looking for my computer’s serial number, I was told by a representative from the computer manufacturer, that he too was unable to solve my problem. I was just about to chuck my career and live out my days playing solitaire.

But then he told me he coul give me what he called a “work-around.” And that was good enough for me. In fact, I was ecstatic! I would have asked him to marry me except my husband might not approve. So I asked him if he would just move in. And I meant it! I need an IT person in my house! As computers get fancier, the tools I have at my disposal are no longer sufficient. (The tools I have being a hammer and a screwdriver.) 

All’s well that ends. I’m making do with the “work-around.” I’m getting used to my new computer. And I’m thinking of taking up Microsoft Mahjong.