Technical troubles? Find a teenager.

It wasn’t work­ing. Rick gamely pushed but­tons and I began a ser­i­ous read of the  in­struc­tion manu­al. Still no suc­cess. Behind us I could hear the audi­ence shift­ing restlessly.

We were at the Port Hardy Museum where Rick was sched­uled to present an il­lus­trated talk on his new book, West Coast Wrecks & Other Maritime Tales. The laptop was on and con­nec­ted to the pro­ject­or which was also on. The screen was up but the only thing show­ing on it was Searching for in­put… 

After a few minutes Rick said, “I think we need a young per­son,” and left the mu­seum. I told the audi­ence we were hav­ing tech­nic­al prob­lems and to bear with us. I re­turned to page 12 of the manu­al and wondered how long I’d be stuck at the front of the room on my own.

But in only a few minutes Rick came back with a tall teen­age boy. Josh clicked a few keys, wiggled a few cords and with­in 20 seconds the show was up and run­ning. Turns out we’d plugged one of the cords into the wrong hole.

Okay, I ad­mit Rick and I are of a cer­tain age and didn’t grow up in the di­git­al gen­er­a­tion. But hey, the col­ours on the end of the cord and the hole matched and it fit!

Rick launched into the story of the wreck of the Geo. S. Wright. Then someone vis­ited the ladies wash­room and happened to turn on the light at the ex­act same mo­ment a mu­seum vo­lun­teer plugged in the kettle. The mu­seum was plunged into darkness.

After flip­ping nu­mer­ous switches in the break­er box power was re­stored. But the Power Point show wouldn’t come up. I dashed back to Café Guido where Josh’s boss was kind enough to let him dis­ap­pear again.

As we crossed the street to­wards the mu­seum I asked the teen if he liked books. “I love them,” he replied.

Back at the mu­seum Josh did his slight-of-hand tech­ie ma­gic and a beau­ti­ful rendi­tion of the Geo. S. Wright ap­peared on the screen. The audi­ence cheered and I handed Josh a copy of West Coast Wrecks.

Is he the au­thor? Josh asked look­ing at Rick with a big smile. “Yes,” I said. “And he’ll come over to the café to sign the book when he fin­ishes his present­a­tion.” There was an even big­ger smile this time.

I learned three things from this experience.

#1. Always make sure you have the plug hooked up to the right thingiemejob.

#2. Even in this di­git­al age young people still like real books.

#3. And, per­haps most im­port­ant of all, if you’re ever hav­ing tech­nic­al troubles, find a teenager.