Shocked and frightened young caucasian man checking his phone, terrified with its content

Last month I described to you a 2.5-hour phone session I had with John from the Philippines, a tech support representative for my cable provider who patiently walked me through the installation of my new upgraded hardware. Since then, I’ve become one with my TV remote, which I can now talk into and verbally change channels. Although I must enunciate in slow motion for it to recognize my command to turn to the Smithsonian Channel, as in “Smiiiiithhhhhh-sooooon-iiiii-an.”

However, not all is copacetic on the technology front. I’m now in the throes of a cell phone issue. Actually, I should say I’m in the “throws” of an issue because I’ve been “this close” to throwing my cell phone out the window.

My iPhone has lost its ability to recognize the wifi connection in my home, hindering access to the internet. So, of course, I called tech support. And that’s where I engaged in a two-hour phone conversation with Steve from the Philippines. (I forgot to ask if he knows the aforementioned John from the Philippines.) If you’re keeping score, I’m now up to 4.5-hours of tech support in the last 30 days with folks in the Philippines.

Thank God the U.S. helped the Philippines free themselves of the Japanese occupation during WWII or who knows where we’d be getting our tech support from. Oh, wait, that would be India.

Steve from the Philippines walked me through a myriad of problem-solving steps, sadly to no avail. He advised me to go their closest retail store for further assistance. I want you to know I’m very satisfied with my cell phone carrier, and I wish them no ill will. So to be fair I’m going to use a pseudonym to protect them from undue criticism. That being said, off I went to the nearest “Horizon” store.

Upon my arrival, a thorough inspection of my iPhone was conducted. The results showed I had full wifi strength in the store; suggesting to the “Horizon” representative that the source of my connectivity issue must be my cable modem. He recommended I contact my cable provider.

I’ve decided I’m not up for another marathon phone call. Instead, to expedite the tech support process, I thought it would be more prudent to just book a trip to the Philippines. I’ll make sure to write because my phone probably won’t work.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to report I’ve resolved at least one additional communication challenge. A year ago, I purchased, but had yet to set up, a new two-line landline phone to replace the 40-year old one in my home office. I vaguely remember, but I believe the first words I uttered into this relic of a device were: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.”

I’ve procrastinated setting up the new phone because it came with a 223-page/177 section user’s manual! Eighteen pages alone dedicated to “Getting Started,” which intimidated me into not getting started. My son, visiting from out-of-town, finally set it up for me last week in less than 10 minutes. Now I can sell my carrier pigeons.

I close by wishing my cousin Harry in Toronto a happy, healthy 98th birthday. Harry, a Holocaust survivor, is simply the sweetest, most inspiring man on the planet. Our family sent him a bouquet of flowers that I ordered through 1-800-Flowers. The salesperson could not have been more accommodating. While I can’t recall his name, he did confirm to me that he was located in … the Philippines. Emmis (true).

Alan Muskovitz is a writer, voice-over/acting talent, speaker, emcee and a regular guest host on the Mitch Albom Show on WJR AM 760. Visit his website at and “Like” Al on Facebook.