But what to do if you can't even manage something that simple?
Our computers are just lousy with evidence of how wretched we are. This can include our sticky browser histories, our terrible music libraries, or any one of the half-finished novels littering our hard drives, filled with characters who keep shrugging and exclaiming at each other.
Outside, the sky thundered and shrugged. I turned to Bob and exclaimed, "As you know, Bob, ever since the Personification Wars of 2108, the sky has been capable of gestures."
So if all else fails, you can always harvest as much of this embarrassing information as possible. Then the next time this relative needs help from you, you ask them what it's worth to them.
Christopher Meder/Hemera/Getty Images
"This is some fucked-up shit, Grandpa. I'd hate for you to spend the golden years of your life tied up in war crime tribunals."
Again, this isn't going to make you popular at Thanksgiving, so maybe save this one for a year you really don't want to do any traveling. Or at least try to usher in a new terrifying epoch first.
To the uninitiated, fixing computers must look pretty mysterious. Cryptic error messages, strange and exciting progress bars, the mysterious eldritch procedure known as "Rebooting the Router."
Roman Sigaev/iStock/Getty Images
"HEED ME, BALTh'OMAR! I INVOKE THE ANCIENT RITE OF UNPLUGGING FOR TEN SECONDS."
Although this might seem easy to you or me, knowing how and when to do these things takes experience. And seeing as applying this experience can take hours of effort, it's also worth something. Professional computer repair operations charge something in the neighborhood of $50 to $100 per hour for their "labor," which is the correct term for it, even if it involves sitting quietly in a padded chair. So when a relative asks you for help fixing a computer, that's potentially a couple hundred bucks of work they're asking for.
"We'll give you a Coke."
Now obviously, we do nice things for our relatives all the time without considering payment. Handing your uncle an invoice for a chore you've just done is commonly called "A Dickily Dickish Dick Move." But damned if it doesn't get a certain message across, and put to a stop any more friendly requests for computer assistance. So if you're really fed up with them, and can stand the stern looks around the Thanksgiving table you're going to get, yeah, go ahead and put a lien on Grandma's house.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and has rebooted things several times. His first novel, Severance, is incredible and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
For more from Bucholz, check out So You're Being Confronted By An Army Of Wizards and 4 Fake Buildings You Didn't Know Hide Stuff From You.
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