Can’t anybody here fix this thing?

David Swan
2 min readOct 13, 2022

October 13, 2022

Woman in frustrated pose in front of laptop screen.
My latest selfie (Photo actually by Andrea Piacquadio on

Being ghosted is so sad. Especially by collaborators who’ve been at my elbow since the days of AOL and dial-up. I still need these allies like Seattle needs lattes and the Chicago Bears need a quarterback (again). Yet when I call on them, too often I’m greeted by a swirly blue wheel and the distressing words “Not Responding.”

That’s right, I’m being scorned, dumped, ignored, disrespected by MS Word and Outlook. Was it something I said? I really didn’t think I was asking so much. Can we talk? Maybe you can just show me the morning mail (Not Responding).

Okay, let me update my calendar (Not Responding). Open a new .docx file? (Not Responding). Please save the 6,257 words I’ve just added to my novel-in-progress (I told you already, nudnik, NOT RESPONDING! Go away!). That last one is slightly exaggerated but that’s how it feels. I’d be pulling my hair out if I had any left.

Worst is when the non-response freezes the whole machine. I grit my teeth, restart, and sit there fuming about the wacky-jacks who think Bill Gates is plotting world domination when he probably couldn’t plot a one-car funeral.

I’ve tried running the repair program, un- and reinstalling everything, to no avail. My laptop is no spring chicken and Office 365 is probably such a memory hog that the processor leaps into its own Great Resignation, not to be denied.

I’m about ready to move to a desert island, write everything in charcoal on tree bark, and send it to the mainland by carrier pigeon. Or I can spring for a new laptop. But years ago when I was an undergrad, folks who were clueless and annoying were labeled “not responsible.” Those not-so-good old days are back. Just ask Mr. Jones.



David Swan

Writer, editor, ex-journalist, all-around communicator. Comfortable in real and fictional worlds. Always on the lookout for a great story.