Lessons from Sparky: Printers take you seriously when you tell them you speak Norwegian


I think I’m going to start keeping track of the conversations I have with my brother. I seriously can’t make up the stuff he says. I never could. Even when he was a little kid, he would say the craziest things. He just has a way of phrasing things that always comes off hilarious … especially when he’s not trying to be funny.

I’m planning to blog our way through Dallas, Edinburgh, Carlisle, and London in the new few months, and for those of you who read this blog on a regular basis, it might be helpful if I introduce you to him before he starts appearing frequently.

My brother, Andy (a.k.a. Sparky)

My brother, Andy (a.k.a. Sparky)

I always learn something from my brother every time we talk. Most of the time it’s completely useless information that will only be good in a novel where I have an extremely nerdy character, but I suppose I have plenty of nerdy characters. So I thought that maybe I should start keeping a log of Lessons from Sparky (my brother’s nickname). And there’s no time like the present because recently he taught me yet another valuable lesson.

We went to see Iron Man 3 on Wednesday night (great movie, by the way). It had been a long, stressful day, and it was a nice way to unwind. We ate at Old Chicago downtown and hit the Old Town Warren for the $5 movie night. And he was wearing his snazzy fedora hat and with his long hair and beard and engineer-ish clothes, and he just makes me smile.

One thing Wichita has is awesome movie theatres. If you’re ever in Wichita, you’ve simply got to see a movie here at one of the Warrens. Great picture. Great sound. Comfortable seating. And reasonable prices. You can’t beat it. We have plenty of other little cheapy theatres, but I prefer to spend a little more and really enjoy the quality of the place.

The content of our conversations is about as random as we are, which is really saying something. But at some point he started telling me about the latest person’s computer that he fixed. He’s always fixing people’s computers, and if he’s not fixing their computers, he’s building computers for them. Someday I’ll do a post on his computers. They’re amazing. But the most recent repair work he did was on some little old lady’s computer. I think he likes fixing computers for little old ladies because they feed him, but that’s my opinion.

I guess he had installed some kind of photo editing program on it. I can’t remember. The funny part of the story actually had more to do with the printer. The lady had a printer that needed to be set up, so he took care of that. And the printer asked him to complete a survey. He doesn’t think much of surveys and he told the little old lady that they weren’t important. So he pretty much just made up stuff through the whole thing. He said the printer would be used in Greece in a small business of eight to nine people and that the primary language was Norwegian.

Yes. Norwegian.

And he clicked submit. They decided to print a test page to make sure that the printer was set up properly, and lo and behold! The LED display screen on the printer was in Norwegian. So apparently telling the survey program that you speak Norwegian changes the internal settings on the printer so that it only displays Norwegian.

So he had to poke around on the keypad for a while until he figured out which Norwegian word identified the language settings. Meanwhile, the little old lady thought it was hilarious, and all he could ask himself was why he hadn’t picked Spanish “instead of frickin’ Norwegian.”

So that was a valuable lesson. Don’t BS printer setup surveys. They curse at you in Norwegian.

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