Updated 8.34 a.m. PDT Thursday with more information about the call.
Many of you, on listening to this conversation, will have sympathy with Brian from Tech Support. Some of you may, indeed, be Brian from Tech Support.
But this tech support phone call, one that feels all too real, is a fine description of the gap between the way the real world sometimes sees tech and how tech always sees tech. It came to me from Techland, who got it from Topless Robot who got it from Gorilla Mask. (Ultimately, who knows where it came from, so please reserve a small amount of skepticism.)
It's easy to dismiss the caller as a little old lady. But she's actually just trying to find her way through a world she doesn't know. Her problem, you see, is thatfor the video game's 30th anniversary, is getting on her nerves.
"I have the Pac-Man game and I want to disable that on my home page," she tells Brian.
When Brian explains to Lorraine (I think she's called Lorraine. Or perhaps Loreen) that Google put the Pac-Man there, her response is a very doubtful "OK," as if she really meant to say "What the hell did they do that for?"
"How can I get rid of it?" she asks. "It'll go away tomorrow," Brian replies.
"So I can't study today?" The noise from the game, you see, was drowning out her Jeff Paul video.
You might be familiar with Jeff Paul. He is a man who can almost, but not quite, guarantee that you will make millions on the Web. His "Shortcuts to Millions" are already contemporary classics.
Please imagine that this supposed little old lady wants to become a wealthy grande dame and the darned Google Pac-Man game is standing in her way.
"You're using Firefox, right?" says Brian, who is delightful throughout, if occasionally stifling a giggle or two.
"I would assume," replies Lorraine. Lorraine is no fool. She understands what a tab is. She finally gets to click on the red cross. And, once she turns her sound back up, it's just her and Jeff. Pac-Man has been lost in some distant maze.
"How many calls did you get on this?" a very grateful Lorraine asks at the end. I will leave you to guess and listen to Brian's answer.
Update: I have been contacted by someone who claims to have more information about the call. Apparently, the Tech Support company on this call, based in Utah, helps all Jeff Paul customers build Web sites and make millions. "Brian" apparently still works there. He is said to be a college student in his 20s. The audio seems to have been passed around until someone thought it worth posting to YouTube.