OP-Ed: Story Over a Cup – Saving Private Errors

Published 12:46 am Saturday, August 8, 2020

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Michael Cole
Story Over A Cup

Picture this, Sicily 1927… Err, wrong story segue.

Picture this…

My home office, two nights ago.


As anyone that has saved a computer file, the steps for doing it can be very strict. In many cases you do not think about it, just click save, write the name you want to give it and click save.


But, you are forgetting one thing. When it comes to little things in computers, it can be very much like an Old Testament God… lots of rules and no mercy.

Brining us to last night.

I had just finished writing a text file and it was time to save. It was late. I was tired and my bed beckoned. All I had to do was name it and click save.

An act so simple, even a caveman could do it.

Well, apparently, I was not up to caveman level at that particular moment.

To save time, I highlighted the name of the article and pasted it in the file name box. Clicked save.

Nothing. Tried again. Nothing.

Well, maybe there is something wrong with the file type. So maybe if I change the file type.


Well, that is annoying. I really said other things, but it includes words my editor will not publish.

My first thought is to have it wait till morning, but I know my computer is set to update overnight so if I leave the file just sitting there unsaved, I will lose it.

“And if staying here and fixing the problem gets me to my bed just a little faster, I am going to do it,” I thought in my best Tom Hanks voice.

After all, I am not a fool and I will master this error.

After an hour, I am hearing in a Morgan Freeman voice, “But Michael was a fool, and he was not able to master this error.”

I have tried everything. I saved other things to see if it was a problem with the computer.

I ran updates

I ran a troubleshooter.

I screamed

I cussed.

I cried. A lot.

In desperation, I just gave the file a random name.

It saved.

So, I figured why not just rename it then.

It would not let me rename it.

Remember from earlier in this story (you can go back, I will wait) How I said computers were like old testament Gods? No mercy and lots of rules?

And remember how I said I just cut and pasted the title?

Well, you cannot save a question mark or exclamation mark in a title for a saved document.

Guess what my title had in it?


So, a single question mark cost me three hours.

Ever have one of those days?

Oh wait, it’s 2020.

Well, later my friends.

May your coffee cup stay full, fresh, and hot.

And may your files save easily!

Michael Cole is a syndicated columnist that when he is not writing, he is plotting global domination if he is not being brought down by a question mark. You can follow him at www.storyoveracup.com