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I Earned an "A"

by Joan Gershman 2 months ago in humor

Tale of an excellent student

“You are an excellent learner”, said the voice on the phone. “You did a fantastic job.” Was I accepting this lofty praise from an instructor from whom I was taking an in-person craft course? An online professor from whom I was taking a creative writing course? A teacher from whom I was taking a brush-up course on word processing? No. None of these. I was being complimented on my learning skills by……………..a Comcast Agent. As I was extricating myself from a pretzel-like position on the floor underneath my desk with 3 different cords in my hands, how could I not be proud of his gushing compliments?

Let me give you some background information here. The problem started when my landline phone would not work. Yes, I am one of those dinosaurs who still have a landline phone hooked in with all my other Comcast equipment. I honestly tried to fix this myself. I dutifully did everything I knew an agent was going to tell me to do. I unplugged the modem for more than the requisite 10 seconds. More like 5 minutes. I plugged it back in to reboot the entire system. Still no dial tone. Nothing. I replaced all the jack cords with new ones. Yes, I have scores of extra cords in drawers and boxes everywhere.

Out of options, I had no choice but to call Comcast. After much diagnostic discussion with the agent, it was determined that my kitchen jack, where my main phone unit was plugged, was faulty. It was also determined that a faulty house jack was the “house’s” fault, not Comcast’s fault, and the “house” was going to have to pay to fix it. That would be me. Then he spoke the dreaded words - If we have to send someone out to do this, we will charge you $60. So, against my better judgment, having attempted and failed miserably to follow Comcast phone instructions many times previously, I gallantly gave it a shot, truly not expecting anything remotely positive to occur.

If you have ever called a Comcast agent in desperate need of assistance to get one or more pieces of their equipment to work, you fully understand the fear and intimidation struck into your heart when you hear the question…………Are you able to reach the cord connecting the_________it doesn’t matter what the next words are. The answer is always NO, and if I knew which cord was which, did what, and could reach it, I wouldn’t need YOU.

The prospect of a looming $60 added to my already obscenely high Comcast bill spurred me on to listen as carefully as I was able, and to ask for multiple repetitions of the instructions in small segments that I could recall and repeat back to him so he could verify them.

After 30 minutes of following his instructions that involved a vast variety of cords being switched and plugged into different jacks and finally bypassing everything to go straight into the modem, my phone worked! Which is how I ended up the recipient of glorious praising by the agent, who said he had never spoken to a customer who followed instructions as well as I did, and he was very proud of me.

Yes, my desk now looks like a throwback to the pre-wireless 1990’s when wires crisscrossed under, over, and around every piece of electronic equipment owned, but my phone works, I did not have to pay extra to achieve that feat, AND my knees, back, and shoulders survived the acrobatic ordeal.

Since Mr. Comcast Agent was so pleased with my skills, I think he should send me a Certificate of Accomplishment that I can proudly display on my office wall above all the wires and cords.


Joan Gershman

Retired - Speech/language therapist, Special Education Asst, Substitute English teacher


Whimsical essays, short stories -funny, serious, and thought-provoking

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