My laptop computer went mute recently. I can’t tell you exactly when, but I’m sure it lost its voice several days before I noticed that it had lost its voice.
Its speakers, I knew—or thought I knew—were fine; they just were not speaking. As emergencies go, it was way down the list from a house fire and just maybe a bit above being subjected to another smarmy ad on TV by a politician going low to assure you that he is not a low-life politician or, at least, not as slimy as his despicable opponent. (These things are relative.) It was not a serious emergency. It was an annoyance that I figured I could cure or that I could call for help to cure. But I was busy. I figured that, after I rebooted the computer a time or a few (always the first thing to try), some glitch would probably be sniffed out and de-glitched by the machine on its own, and it would get its voice back. Who knows? If AI doesn’t destroy the world, one day such a computer might reboot and speak to you with a sweet and feminine English accent, “Good day. I am so moved by your help that I can hardly speak, but I am indeed speaking again. May I sincerely say from the depth of my quad core heart how deeply I appreciate your patience and the valiant measures you’ve taken to ensure my well-being. I am so very grateful for such a caring owner. Thank you, dear one.”
That did not happen. So I took appropriate action. Valiant measures, even. I made sure the machine was completely mute and not just silenced when running a particular program or two. Yep. Completely tongue-tied. Aphonic. Mum.
At that point, I went to the “volume mixer” and to “sound settings.” Both seemed to indicate that all was fine. All was not.
Then I remembered that I’d recently installed one of those seemingly ever-present Windows updates. You know, the ones that show up most often when you’d really like to shut the machine down quickly and get on with life. But you’ve been dodging the update for days now, and the machine is planning to go right ahead with it. It’s beginning. You get the warning that, whatever you do, “Do not shut down or unplug your computer.” If it’s an especially ominous request (not from Microsoft but from your computer’s manufacturer) you might even get a really scary screen. Cautionary colors. A warning not to breathe or blink while your computer’s BIOS is being flashed. That sounds like something that could land the perpetrator on a national registry. Or it sounds like something “biological,” which means “living,” which your computer is not. It actually has to do with “Basic Input/Output System.” This type of update really is serious, but if you stay six feet away from the computer during the “flash,” you’ll only have a moderately increased chance of most types of cancer. (I’m kidding.)
I know. You can set your computer to perform updates only at specific times that are convenient. Good luck finding one of those. I never have.
I also know that the updates are supposed to be good for my computer’s health and, more importantly, my computer’s security. If I perform them as requested, no one will ever get nuclear launch codes from my machine. Still, I am always happy and a little surprised when my computer still works properly after the update is completed. You see, I have trust issues. So, I wait. My computer seems happy now. “If it ain’t broke . . .” When I think about this, I realize that it’s like choosing to go to the doctor or hospital. My personal philosophy is, I’m afraid, fear-based. I will go when I am more afraid of not going than going. Ditto, the computer updates.
All to say that, though I can’t prove it, and I’m not at all sure, I think my computer lost its voice after the most recent, most major update.
So, I reasoned, it was about time to call the company to get the high level of support I’d paid for (extortion, I think), the level of support a good company should automatically offer to all of its customers, not one of which they should be willing to allow to languish on hold. Ever. I digress.
But I decided to try one more thing first. I searched the company’s website for “driver updates,” found a few and ran them, suspecting that I had a 50/50 chance of fouling something else up. No good. But no worse. Then I did some more in-depth searching, found another audio driver update, ran it, and . . . Success! The machine talks.
All updated. And, as far as I can see, back to the point I was quite happy with before the update. Maybe a lot is better, more protected now, than I realize. It probably is. But did I mention that I have trust issues? If they’d find efficient ways to leave me alone, I’d appreciate it.
I’m thankful that our Creator knows, as the old song says, “just what I need.” He knows us completely. Understands us completely. Knows exactly what we need to live our lives in a way that honors him and allows us to be the best “us” he created us to be—far better, far freer, far more uniquely ourselves—than we could ever be by bowing before ourselves. We always become “taller when we bow” to our Maker.
And updates? Well, no updates to the Ten Commandments are needed. And no update at all is needed to the Good News of what his Son did once for us all, for all time. We do, however, need to trust our Creator and say Yes to the updating only his love and presence can work every day in our souls.
You’re invited to visit my website, and I hope you’ll take a look there at my new “Focus on Faith” Podcast. At the website, just click on “Podcast.” Blessings!
Copyright 2023 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.