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When interacting with people who hold in their corporate policies, subject to their whims, the ability to fix your broken technology and perhaps stretch the constraints of your extended warranty (which has paid for itself several times over), it helps to make it apparent (subtlety works best here) that you know at least a little bit about the problem at hand. Especially with those staffing the Genius Bar at an Apple Store. Some of them are nice, helpful, and not condescending, but that’s a hat trick not found in most of them. And who can blame them, what with Genius Bar in huge letters on the wall above their heads and a crowd of supplicants milling about the store, waiting like brain-washed Steve Jobs acolytes for a few minutes in the exalted presence of a designated Genius? I’d have a hard time reining it in if I were referred to as a genius all day: “A Genius will be with you in about two hours. [And we know full well that you will wait, without complaining.]” “Sorry, we’re just waiting for an available Genius.” “Hold on, let me find a Genius and ask her.”

I can usually figure out software and firmware fixes, but there are a number of physical problems with C2’s MacBook. We asked a few questions; the Genius smiled and said a bunch of words that resembled answers but weren’t. I began mentally formulating a plan to get what we wanted by demonstrated that I’m not a complete rookie, so don’t think you’re going to get away with telling me that there is hair and dirt sandwiched in front of the screen but too bad for me because you can’t fix it because it’s one piece and the stuff is in there, inaccessible to the user, because that’s the way the computers were made because Apple couldn’t very well glue down the bezel because there are a bunch of tabs and clips and that’s why the new MacBooks don’t have bezels but are one piece out to the edge and the only way to keep it from happening is to clean the outside of your screen often. Yes, he said that, albeit with more punctuation. First, how stupid do you think I am that I might believe that it’s possible for dust and hair to get between a computer screen and its protective cover if it’s one piece? Has Apple been experimenting with osmosis, too? Second, the construction details of the new MacBook are entirely irrelevant here, and you’ve just admitted that it’s a problem that was fixed in the new models. Third, I’m not an idiot and didn’t suggest that Apple should have glued down the bezels, you can see that my screen is nice and clean, and, in fact, frequent cleaning of the screen is more likely to push debris under the bezel and in my field of vision, you self-important prick. Fourth, you don’t have any bezels in stock because you have to replace them so often under warranty, which I know because your store has had to replace mine once before for just this reason.

I’m at a disadvantage at an Apple Store because, while I know something about PCs, I know next to nothing abut Macs. We wanted to know about backup utilities, but all I know about backup utilities for Macs is what I’ve Googled. I like to supplement information searches with personal endorsements, so we asked the Genius what the best way to back up a Mac was. He said he used Time Machine in Leopard. He’d been looking at the computer, so I shouldn’t have needed to tell him that the computer doesn’t have Leopard on it. Instead, I told him, it has “Safari.”

This morning I woke up in very nearly a cold sweat: Safari? That’s like asking a bartender for his opinion on the best way to make a margarita and he says he prefers a blender. To which you answer, “That won’t work for me because I don’t have a blender. I have a curling iron.” Scratch the above: You’ll find me at the Idiot Bar.