Su Lum: Clone Freddie Fisher!
What we need around here is Freddie Fisher, who advertised in The Aspen Times in 1952: “You Bust It & I’ll Fix it. If that ain’t a square deal, I’ll eat it. WILL FIX ANYTHING (ALMOST). Fisher the Fixer. Phone 2361.” I could have used Freddie’s fix-it skills last week, when my phone, which is in my bedroom, emitted a peculiar, distant ring. I picked up the receiver, pressed the talk button and nothing happened, yet the phone kept ringing from afar. I tracked the ring to the fax machine in the living room, picked up that receiver, and was surprised to find a caller at the other end.My fix-it attempts, which consisted of angrily plugging and unplugging everything and pressing every button on the phone and fax, proved futile. My “real” phone, including my answering machine, was inoperable.The next day, I took the receiver to the Miner’s Building and bought a new battery for it. Warned that it would take 24 hours to charge, I waited patiently but a day later the phone was still silent, so I called my personal Fisher the Fixer, my son-in-law Bruce, who unfortunately lives in Leadville.Bruce can fix almost anything, but was somewhat at a loss to fix my phone by long distance. He had me plug and unplug more connections while he hung on, reminding me of the time I called him in the middle of the night with a broken pipe and he talked me down into the spidery crawl space under the house, where I was drenched trying to turn off the main water valve. When the phone still did not respond to his suggestions, he said to take the whole thing to the Miner’s Building, where they could plug it in and diagnose whether or not the problem was with the phone.In the old days, if something went wrong with your phone, you’d go to a neighbor’s house and call AT&T. AT&T had a monopoly on the telephone business; you didn’t own your phone, they did. And in the event of breakdown, they would hotfoot it over to your place to fix it, it being in their best interest to keep your calls flowing.Now, the phone companies, having perfected the art of protection by drowning the caller in voice mail and the torture of elevator music, are the last people on the planet that you can actually reach by phone. If you should persevere for the several days it would take to reach a human being, the response would be, “That’s not our problem, lady.”So I took the whole phone down to the Miner’s Building, forgetting the adaptor cord and having to go back home for it, and Neil plugged it in and got a dial tone right away. I took it home, plugged it in, and got nothing.Back on the fax phone to Bruce, who was then able to diagnose that the problem lay somewhere in the 30-foot cord between my bedroom phone and the fax machine. He told me to unplug everything from the phone in my bedroom, bring the phone into the living room, plug it into an electrical outlet there, then take the fax-to-jack cord out of the fax and plug it into the phone and the jack.I had no idea what I was doing, but followed Bruce’s directions and lo, got a dial tone on my phone.I’ll report on the repair of my ice-maker, which broke in November, if and when there’s an end to the saga. [Su Lum is a longtime local who has about had it with malfunctions. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.]
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