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June 25th, 2007
12:06 pm
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Lyrics: "Tech Support," Jeffrey Hitchin
If you've never heard the song "Tech Support" by Jeffrey Hitchin, you really ought to go download it and give it a listen. I've only ever been able to find a single recording of it -- a digitized recording of a 1993 live performance, hosted at the Virtual Filksing -- but it deserves much broader exposure.

I'm putting the lyrics here not only for my own reference, but for that of the internet at large. As far as I can determine, nobody's ever transcribed the song, and the sound quality on the mp3 is just grainy enough that some folks have a hard time distinguishing the words.




"Tech Support" - Jeffrey Hitchin

What did I do to deserve this
All I needed was the work
Now I pick up the phone and talk to stupid jerks

Thank you, sir, now could you stop swearing
My fragile ego's been stomped
All because you don't know your ass from a C:\ prompt

Ooooh, maybe if you'd start thinkin'
You'd know why that cursor's blinkin'
Maybe your IQ is sinkin'
Or perhaps you've been drinkin'

CHORUS
Please don't call me, I won't call you
Don't tell me to fix it for you
I'm not Bill Gates
I'm tech support

What did I do to deserve this
Why can't you just read the book
[spoken] You know. Read the ... fine manual. Yeah.
Something to do on hold the 20 minutes it took

Why can't you just load up Windows
Compared to UNIX it's paradise
[aside] At least it is for the new users.
Stop screaming that vi's the antichrist
[aside] Well it isn't. Emacs is!

Ooooh, could you stop this verbal assault
Just because you forgot the defaults
And if your process halts
'cause you didn't read the docs
Why is that my fault

CHORUS
Please don't call me, I won't call you
Don't tell me to fix it for you
I'm not Bill Gates
I'm tech support

What made me think I could like this
It must have been my imagination
I mean, formatting hard disks
Is not a complex operation

[LENGTHY SPOKEN BRIDGE - According to net folklore (and confirmed by JH himself), this is a dramatic retelling of an actual phone call he once took.]

Tech Guy: Tech Support, how can I help you?
Clueless Caller: Um ... my computer ... won't connect to, like, the Internet?
TG: Okay, what operating system are you using?
CC: I don't know.
TG: ... Okay, is it Mac, Windows, Linux?
CC: Oh, it's windows!
TG: Okay, which Windows?
CC: I don't know.
TG: ... 3.1, 95, NT 3.5, NT 4 --
CC: Oh, hold on, I'll go check!
[lengthy dead air]
TG: [aside] ... I could've gotten down to the Tomb of Qualopec by now.
CC: Okay, I'm back!
TG: Oh damn, you interrupted my game of Quake. Go ahead.
CC: It's Windows en tee three ... five ... one.
TG: Okay. Have you installed Remote Access Service?
CC: ... I don't know.
TG: You know, I knew you were going to say that, but I thought "Let's be masochistic and ask the question anyway." ... Okay! I want you to go to your Program Manager. Can you handle that?
CC: Okay, I got it open.
TG: Now, do you see Remote Access Service?
CC: No, I see DOS, SYS, TEMP, WINDOWS --
TG: Okay, you've opened the File Manager, not the Program Manager. I want you to close everything. ... Now what do you see?
CC: A bunch of bricks.
TG: ... ...
TG: ... Okay! Now, on top of the screen, do you see something that says "Pro-gram Man-a-ger"?
CC: Yeah.
TG: Okay, double-click on it. Now, do you see "Remote Access Service"?
CC: No.
TG: Okay, we're going to have to install it.
CC: Do I install that by double-clicking on "Remote Access Service"?
TG: ... And where do you see that?
CC: In this little window I have open in front of me.
TG: [getting irate] Yes, you double-click on that!
CC: Double-click on what?
TG: ...
TG: [barely restrained fury] The little window that says "Remote Access Service"!
CC: Okay, it's open.
TG: Now, do you see "Remote Access"?
CC: Yeah.
TG: Oh! But you got one. One out of ten isn't bad. ... Alright. Now what do you see?
CC: I see "Internet Account."
TG: And underneath that, what do you have as your phone number?
CC: I don't know.
TG: ...
TG: It's in the little window that says "Phone number?" ... Right underneath the little bit that says "Internet service"?
CC: Oh! 555-9624.
TG: Okay, that isn't our regular dial-up number. You must not have a regular dial-up account. What type of account do you have?
CC: [and audience chanting along] I don't know.
TG: Aaaaaagh! ... Do you have any of your bills with you? That will tell you.
CC: No.
TG: Okay. Do you think you can find your system administrator? Your system administrator will know what type of an account you have --
CC: Oh, but I am the system administrator.

[music stops dead]

TG: ... OH MY GOD, THEY GAVE YOU ROOT?!?

[immediately back to the singing]

AAAAAAH! What did I do to deserve this
Face the fact you need more RAM
Maybe you should just toss it in the garbage can

Why do I have to repeat things
I've told you at least six times before
Couldn't you go bother Adobe some more

Ooooh, I could be going crazy
But I think, memory's hazy
I don't think you're acting spacy
I think you're too damn lazy

CHORUS (audience sings along)
Please don't call me, I won't call you
Don't tell me to fix it for you
I'm not Bill Gates
I'm tech support

Tech support!

[spoken] Just the women!
(FEMALE AUDIENCE) Tech support!
[spoken] Just the men!
(MALE AUDIENCE) Tech support!
[spoken] Okay, just the Republicans!
(ONE LONE VOICE IN AUDIENCE) Tech ... support ...?

... Thank you for calling.




(As an aside, if anyone wants to help me puzzle out the three or four sections labeled "inaudible" or with question marks (?), I'd be grateful. In particular, figuring out what game he was interrupted from is going to drive me nuts. It's got to be something recognizable, probably a UNIX command-line or a solitaire-type game ... I just can't think of anything like that that sounds like "poing".)
Edited to add: Well, hey! The artist is on LJ as jhitchin and dropped by in comments to fix my inaudibles. :-)

Current Location: ~yuba
Current Music: guess.
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(12 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:eclective
Date:June 25th, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
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... OH MY GOD, THEY GAVE YOU ROOT?!?

...I lol'd so hard. XP

(Also, perhaps a weird pronounciation of Pong...?)
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 26th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
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Then you'll probably like my next post, too. ]B=8D

(And as far as "poing" goes, see comments below.)
[User Picture]
From:kshandra
Date:June 25th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
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I got to hear jhitchin sing this once at the Seattle Callahanicon, and yes, it's fabulous. I'll ask him if he's ever posted the lyrics somewhere.
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 27th, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
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Thanks for pointing him here, by the way!
[User Picture]
From:jhitchin
Date:June 25th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
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In order of the question marks:
- "At least it is for the new users."
- "I could've gotten down to the Tomb of Qualopec by now."
- "Oh, damn, you interrupted my game of Quake. Go ahead."
- "Face the fact you need more RAM."

Since then I've tweaked the lyrics a tad, but I haven't performed it in a dog's age, so I can't remember all the tweaks off the top of my head.
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:June 26th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
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Wow! Thank you for stopping by; corrections made. I must admit I've no idea how I got "poing" out of Quake ... ;)

If you'll indulge two quick questions:
1) Did you ever release a commercial or compilation version of this? I'd be happy to throw some financial support behind my musical enjoyment. (And if not, is there a better-quality recording out there than the one at VFS?)
2) I have a feeling this is a rhetorical question (having been there myself), but I'd like to ask for posterity: Is the spoken bridge based on a real call?

As far as further lyrical tweaks - I've googled the phrase "jeffrey hitchin" "tech support" numerous times and never gotten any lyrics results, which is why I made this post in the first place. But as it turns out, when I hit Google for the link above, the #3 result was a spam link page, notable mostly for a dead link to http://www.serv.net/~santa/music/techsupport.html -- enough at least for me to find it in the Internet archive. I suspect the version there is more up to date.

I hope I've helped more people enjoy your music - and thank you for producing it in the first place!
[User Picture]
From:jhitchin
Date:June 26th, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC)
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1) No. I did record a studio version for a CD compilation project, but it got scrapped, and I don't know what happened to the master for that. Right now I'm more concentrated on my acting career, so I haven't been doing much with the musical side of things.

2) Yes, it was based on a real call I took at a now-defunct ISP in Seattle, Washington. The only embellishment was the "bunch of bricks" line. Also, in the user's defense, I am pretty sure she was getting the terms "System Administrator" and "Office Administrator" confused.

The version you found in the internet archive is up to date, yes. That contains the most recent lyric changes. Usually, when it's performed, there's always a spoken bridge (I change it all the time for freshness' sake), and the ending is either "Thank you for calling," or a short burst of customer stupidity followed by my banging my head against the piano keyboard.

You can thank kshandra for pointing me here.
[User Picture]
From:egoldberg
Date:May 20th, 2008 08:14 am (UTC)
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Sorry, yeah, we never did the computer humor CD. The projects we thought would take a few months before getting to that one ended up taking years (and 5X more money).

You're welcome to borrow the master tapes to copy if you ever want those recordings gratis, although as you say, I know you've kinda moved on.
From:silussa
Date:June 26th, 2007 12:12 am (UTC)
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As the unofficial tech geek in my district for my employer (which means about 10 convenience stores), I can completely believe that the phone call did happen.

Examples:

when the company rolled out a system that actually required, instead of several pages of daily paperwork, typing numbers into a highly structured DOS program, half of the store MANAGERS either stepped down or quit outright, unable to deal with it. (managers are generally mature, responsible individuals)

at one time, the entire company was having problems with worms because, while the stores can only dial into the home office, the home office's computers had 'net access....and the only av program was the default one that came with the OS installation. (still is, but at least they finally installed some up to date stuff on the server and stopped the stuff spreading)

we had such a problem, and the help desk (who we ARE supposed to call for tech support) seemed incapable of dealing with it. As a result, we were told not to email any file attachments out, while at the same time told we HAD to mail certain files for "end of week". Finally dealt with by going out, getting an av program, and installing it...completely in violation of policy, of course.

The default passwords are....well, not quite what an idiot would use as the combination on his luggage, but close. Of course, it's prohibited to change them.

Oh, they've moved the shift reports onto Excel....needless to say, anyone that has half a brain about computers can pretty much get at whatever from there. I'm NOT a hacker, but I've played with it a bit setting up stuff we needed.



Never underestimate the stupidity of the user. :)

[User Picture]
From:oneechan19
Date:February 8th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
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This is a terribly random comment, but I've been looking for the artist of "Tech Support" for quite awhile, and you're the first person to actually know it! (You also happen to be the only hit when I googled some of the lyrics.)

So, I just want to say thank you, since you have finally brought my search to an end. :)
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:February 9th, 2008 05:05 am (UTC)
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Glad to help!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 27th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
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Excellent!

Now to just find the tablature/chords used...
This one would go over great at the store (the joys of selling and then TS'ing the damn things).
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