I recently confessed how bad I am at even the most basic of DIY tasks, highlighting the monumental fail of trying to bleed a radiator.

Soon after posting that blog, I remembered another relatively recent Frank Spenceresque catastrophe…

It was one of those mornings where I decided to take up work-residence at the kitchen table. As you do, I made a nice, mid-morning creamy cup of coffee and settled back down to work.

Now I honestly don’t know if it is an age thing but I have noticed that – lately – I seem to have more incidents of… how can I say?… involuntary fumbles – typically involving my hands when attempting to either pick something up, put it down or simply move past an object.

Minutes after settling down to some work, I felt my hand drift to the right in the direction of the coffee mug. I wasn’t planning on picking up the mug but actually intending to pick up a piece of paper to the right of the mug.

Somehow, and I honestly do not know HOW, I gently knocked it and baring in mind it was a fresh cup of coffee, this caused a small but significant amount of liquid to spill onto the keyboard.

My first reaction was one of sheer incredulity.

I occasionally hear my son, whilst playing on his Xbox shout at the top of his lungs, “HOW?!”

I almost mimicked this uncontrollable outcry as I stared in disbelief.

My first reaction was to grab some nearby kitchen towel in a vain attempt to soak up the relatively small amount of liquid sitting on the top right corner of the keyboard.

I checked the keys – pressing once, then again.

No response.

Damage had indeed been done.

It was at this point that I made a fatal error (a la throwing the radiator valve out of the window via a bowl of water).

“I know what might work,” I thought to myself in a flash of inspiration to match the world’s best innovators…

“I’ll dry the liquid out of the keyboard using my wife’s hairdryer…!”

I rushed upstairs with the stricken laptop. I pulled the hairdryer out of the drawer and plugged it in. I had no idea which button did what. So I just pressed one and the force was so powerful, it nearly fell out of my hand. I had no idea how to control the heat either so I ‘wisely’ decided to keep the hairdryer at a decent distance.

However, the heat that was belting out of this supersonic hairdryer was so intense that within seconds, I realised that I may NOT be the next ‘Dragon’s Den’ success story. I had been holding the laptop upside down during this particular rescue operation, assuming this would aid the evacuation of the caffeinated liquid – and so, I had the movie-style slo-mo moment in which I had to turn the laptop the right way up whilst wincing/peering partly in hope and yet with a creeping sense of foreboding.

To my horror, I discovered that the afflicted keys had already melted into a virtual mush of plastic.  They had become – redundant technology.

Perhaps, at this point, I should also tell you that the laptop was only ‘in process’ of belonging to me.  The money to pay for it would be exchanging hands during the next week.  I was mortified.  Not only had I spoilt my newest (not even mine yet) acquisition, but I would also have to confess my faux pas to my wife – hairdryer and all.

Needless to say, the damage was irrevocable and the only remaining solution was to call the Customer Services of Dell. The laptop was still 24 hours within its warranty but unsurprisingly, the warranty did not cover voluntary or involuntary coffee spillages on the keyboard.

The moral of THIS tale is:

Watch where you are putting your hands; don’t put liquids near laptops and be innovative but ‘no matter how good an idea sounds, test it first.’

Test it first


Paul Hatcher

I am at heart, a communicator. I love to use words, whether written or spoken and maximise those words to hopefully, bring some encouragement - literally, to put courage into the hearts & minds of those who read or hear them. In my work as an executive coach, speaker, workshop facilitator, I love also to listen...deeply, and then respond with some encouragement.