• Jamie
  • Gregg
  • Miller
  • Diane
Jamie enters, sits at a computer, dons phone headset and begins typing. He is cool, calm, and collected. In his hand is a clipboard and a pen is tucked behind an ear. Every now and then he fidgets with a headset telephone piece in his face or moves the mouse a bit.

A phone rings.

Jamie: (speaking calmly into headset): Help desk, this is Jamie. Sure, what's your name? (typing) Uh huh.. Is that Bloom with two O's? Ah. U-M-E. ..No, it's just that I know someone who.. Yah, it is kinda weird, huh? (laughs a little) Okay, thanks. (big breath) Now how may I assist you? ..I'm sorry.. I didn't quite catch that. You can't check your..? (classic look of cinematic horror, then politely) One moment, please. (covering mic and yelling into audience) PEOPLE, WE GOT A 311 OVER HERE!!!

Jamie slams hand down on an alarm. At that moment, from the audience, Gregg, Diane, and Miller come running onto stage, making loud alarm sounds. When they reach the stage they stop making sounds and begin speaking. All are frazzled and intense.

Miller: A 311?!?!

Gregg: Omigod omigod omigod omigod omigod omigod...

Diane: Hurry!

Gregg: Omigod omigod omigod omigod omigod omigod...

Jamie: People, I got a user on the line. And she can't. Check. Her. Email!

Diane gasps loudly.

Gregg: OH MY GOD!!!

Miller: Alright, so what do we do first?

Diane: Schedule a meeting!

ALL: No!

Gregg: Ask her if her machine is powered on.

Miller & Diane: (patting Gregg on the back) Ooh, good answer! Good answer!

Gregg smiles like it's no big deal.

Jamie: Ma'am, is your personal computer in fact powered up? ..Uh huh. (nods) Hmm...

Miller: (pulls down an overhead chart, eyes it, and with a retractible pointer indicates a certain region of a flowchart) Did she log on to the network?

Jamie: Ma'am, did you log on to the network? She says she is on the network and she can get on to Netscape fine.

Miller breaks the pointer over his knee, frustrated.

Jamie: She's also saying she's getting an error message after entering her password.

Diane: Is she typing it in correctly?

Jamie: (raising a finger) She heard that.. and yes. She's typing it in the same way she always has. Nothing different.

Diane: Damn! I thought for sure that was it!

Gregg: (freaking out) I - I - I can't take this anymore.. All these variables! Is nothing sacred? Why can't she access her email? (sniffs, whimpering) What is left for us to do?

Diane: ..Schedule a meeting?

ALL: (annoyed) NOOOOO!

Gregg: Why won't this work? Why can't she get in? Why am I wearing white after Labor Day? Why? Why? Why? (breaks down noisily)

ALL pause for a second to hug Gregg.

Diane: Protocols! That's gotta be it! (peels away from group hug, runs to a printer, rips off a sheet of paper, and hands it to Jamie)

Jamie: (looks over the paper and smiles at Diane) Has the keyboard suffered any trauma? Has it been dropped, looked at funny, been an intern during the Clinton Administration? Could, uh, something have spilled on it? (deadly serious) User, please sniff it. Does it smell like a Double Swiss Mocha Hazelnut Raspberry Decaf Frappuccino? It doesn't even have to be some kind of beverage --

Gregg: (getting suspicious) It could even be a melted half-pint of Ben & Jerry's. (grabbing the mic and yelling into it, accusatory tone of voice) Could it be that while you were, perhaps, making a personal call during business hours you gorged yourself on chunky monkey while using a machine that came from our department?!?!?!?!? For the love of all that is good in this world, woman, answer me!!

Miller: (shaking Gregg) Get a grip, man. What are you getting at? Are you trying to prove negligence on the user's part? Give it to me straight.

At the utterance of the word "straight", ALL stop, turn to the audience with knowing look, then continue as if uninterrupted.

Gregg: (on the edge) What do you expect me to do? We've exhausted all the other options. What do you want from me?

Miller: I want the truth!

Gregg: The truth? You want the truth You can't HANDLE the --

Jamie: (interrupting, listening to the user) What light? (ALL freeze, hover over Jamie) Oh, on the keyboard? (very politely) Yes, there is often a little indicator light for your caps lock key. Why do you ask?

A tense moment of silence. As Jamie is talking, others variously read documents, fidget, bite fingernails, etc. Jamie suddenly smiles.

Jamie: The caps lock key was on? Depress the key and enter your password again, ma'am. You're going to be alright. (emphatic, teary-eyed) You're going to be alright.

ALL cheer and clap at this moment of triumph, variously hugging, mopping brows, slapping each other on the back, or weeping in relief.

this was from a holiday party skit that i wrote for my department (tech support) back in 1998. interestingly enough, after this performance, the number of Dial-Up User Help (or DUUH) calls went down for about three months.