Tales from The Trenches Archive

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Wax Man

It was a busier day, and I was trying to help by running triage at the support desk. The easier problems I fixed myself, while I passed on the more time consuming issues to the techs.

That’s when one of the more odd employees approached the desk with laptop and charger in hand.  We’ll call him wax man.

I had seen wax man around before - He always looked disheveled and nervous coming in and out of his office on the second floor of one of the buildings. I always chalked it up to him being a quirky programmer.

He seemed almost panicked as he handed me the laptop. This was nothing new, and I was used to dealing with the eccentric and crazy types. Wax man mumbled, “My laptop won’t charge anymore.”  He must be in a big time crunch I thought to myself. I took one look at the laptop and charger and immediately handed it off to the tech sitting beside me, who looked at it and then back at me before immediately dumping it off to HIS coworker. The pair looked at each other, dumped the laptop and charger onto ANOTHER guy (let’s call him Kevin), and left the room.  Kevin looked down and then back to me with a puzzled look.

Now Kevin was a newer tech, but one of the more brilliant minds I’ve seen. He simply lacked common sense. As we stared at each other, the conversation ran silently through our heads. Why are they passing this off? This is the easiest problem we’ve had all day.

After a brief moment, Kevin began diagnosing the laptop.  He quickly deduced that the adapter had failed and announced to wax man and myself that he would order a new one.

While inspecting the adapter for the appropriate numbers, Kevin stopped and looked to wax man.  “What’s this all over the cord and adapter?” he asked.  Wax man tried to answer as non nonchalantly as possible, with an obviously well thought out answer, “It’s candle wax. I knocked a candle over on my desk.” 

Kevin replied, “Oh, well hot candle wax probably shorted out the adapter or something.”  I buried my face in my hands. I couldn’t look. Kevin scraped the adapter clean with his fingernails, got the information, and handed everything back to wax man.

As soon as wax man was out of ear shot, the two others fell through the back door laughing.  “Candle wax!”  The three of us were literally rolling on the floor laughing.  Kevin desperate to get in on the joke began pleading for an answer.  We stopped laughing long enough to explain wax man’s private office and lack of candles.