So I got his username and looked him up.  Sure enough, there were two
tech logs under his name, so I read them briefly.  Virtually
everything that could be checked had been checked.  Something about
the way he was talking to me made me a little curious, so I continued
to ask questions...

    * Tech Support: "From what I can tell, the techs have helped you
                     double-check your settings and everything should
                     be perfectly fine. Do you use Netscape or
                     Internet Explorer to connect?"

    * Customer: "Well, now, I dunno. I just use the stuff ya gave
                 me. When I wanna get online, I click this here."

    * Tech Support: "Can you be a little more specific?"

    * Customer: "I move the little arrow here and click."

    * Tech Support: "Can you tell me what icons are on your desktop?"

    * Customer: "I ain't got no icons."

    * Tech Support: (blink) "You don't? None at all?"

    * Customer: "Nope."

    * Tech Support: "Well, ok. Do you have something on your desktop
                     that says, 'Shortcut to [our Internet service]'?"

    * Customer: "No, I ain't got nothin' written like that on my

    * Tech Support: "Ok, um...can you tell me what's on your desktop,

    * Customer: "Well, I gots me here a pencil, the computer, and my

    * Tech Support: "Um, all right...can you tell me what you see on
                     the TV part of your computer?"

    * Customer: "On one side there's a buncha pictures, and across the
                 top there's words."

    * Tech Support: "Good, sir, that's what I hoped you would say. The
                     little pictures are called 'icons,' and the whole
                     screen area that the little pictures are on is
                     called the 'desktop.'"

    * Customer: "Oh. Hell, is that what you meant? I ain't the
                 religious type, so don't keep no Marys or nothin'

    * Tech Support: "Um, yes, that's what I was meaning, sir. Now, on
                     your screen, the desktop, do you see anything
                     that says 'Shortcut to the Internet' or '[our
                     Internet service]'?"

    * Customer: "Why, yes I do. In fact, that's what I click on when I
                 try to connect."

    * Tech Support: "And then what happens sir?"

    * Customer: "Well, the computer makes all kinds of annoying
                 sounds, then pops up a little thing sayin' I'm

    * Tech Support: "Go--"

    * Customer: (interrupting) "Now before ya say anythin', I wantcha
                                ta know it lies."

    * Tech Support: "It what?"

    * Customer: "The little thing sayin' I'm connected. It ain't
                 talkin' the truth."

    * Tech Support: "Um...ok...what makes you say that?"

    * Customer: "Well, because after that nothin' happens. Nothin' at

    * Tech Support: "Excuse me?"

    * Customer: "Well, it says I'm connected, but nothin' else
                 happens. I'm a patient man, but after about half an
                 hour, my computer finally gives up the truth an' says
                 I'm not connected no more."

    * Tech Support: "Have you tried using a web browser, sir? Do you
                     get any kind of errors when you try opening a web

    * Customer: "I'm tellin' you, nothin' happens."

    * Tech Support: "All right. What do you use for a web browser?"

    * Customer: "I'm not quite sure whatcha mean."

    * Tech Support: "Netscape Navigator? Internet Explorer? Do you use
                     any programs like those?"

    * Customer: "Now why would I need anything like that? All I want
                 to do is get connected."

    * Tech Support: "Right sir, you are getting conn--"

    * Customer: "Now listen here, I just done told ya that I'm not. I
                 think I'd know if anything happened after I tried to
                 connect. By now I'm getting rather frustrated, but
                 still I press on."

    * Tech Support: "Ok, let me try to explain a couple of
                     things. First of all, when most people talk about
                     'surfing the web' and 'getting on the Internet'
                     they're usually talking about viewing web pages
                     on the Internet."

    * Customer: "I follow ya."

    * Tech Support: "In order to view these pages, the person needs to
                     run a web browsing program -- typically Netscape
                     Navigator or Internet Explorer. These turn the
                     information on a web site into a format that is
                     understandable by an ordinary person."

    * Customer: "So I need one of them ta get connected?"

    * Tech Support: "Actually, sir, you are already getting
                     connected. Once you get that 'connected' message,
                     you need to open up a web browser."

    * Customer: "I do?"

    * Tech Support: "Yes, sir. On your screen, do you have a 'little
                     picture' that looks like a big 'N' or do you have
                     one that looks like an 'e'?"

    * Customer: "I got one what looks like an 'N'."

    * Tech Support: "All right, sir, here's what I want you to do:
                     After hanging up with me, I want you to connect
                     like you usually do. Once you get that
                     'connected' box to appear on your screen, I want
                     you to click on the picture of an 'N'. If things
                     still aren't happening after that, go ahead and
                     call us back."

    * Customer: "All right, I'll try that, but I tell ya: ain't
                 nothin' gonna happen."