#41 Fixing electronics by smacking them

My bedroom was above the kitchen growing up.

Late at night while laying in bed I would often listen to the creaks and cracks through the vents and floorboards. Oven burners wobbled and popped, distant thumps echoed through the furnace room, and the fridge cranked its whirring motor whenever it pleased.

It was always funny to me that during the day the fridge didn’t put up much of a fight. If it started clinking and whirring, you just pounded it with your fist and it would stop. One hard knee to the groin of the thing and it just sort of whimpered and stayed quiet.

Like The Fonz kicking the jukebox on Happy Days, Grandpa smacking the TV during Wheel of Fortune, or a bandana-clad mom shaking the washer when the heavy towel load gets it rocking, there is something great about fixing electronics by smacking them.

I mean, for once our instincts work. That doesn’t always happen in nature. Slap a bear on the snout when it’s picking through your backpack and you might get a friendly mauling. Pull your brother’s hair when he steals your Nintendo controller and you could find your toothbrush tossed in the toilet. But when the CD is skipping in the car, a friendly smack might do the trick, so how about that?

Also, it kind of makes you feel handy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know much about electronics. I have no understanding of how telephones work, how airplanes take off, or how radio signals go about their day. I have trouble putting the chain back on my bicycle, resetting the microwave, or starting the barbecue. You should see me out there, turning the gas on and off, tossing in matches and jumping away, half-expecting the whole thing to blow up.

But I’m not bad at smacking things. I can smack a computer, I can smack a dishwasher, and I’ve got a lot of experience if your fridge seems to be giving you trouble. So listen, if you’re with me on this one, throw your hand up for a smacking high five and give cheers to your inner handyman.



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43 responses to “#41 Fixing electronics by smacking them

  1. Just like blowing into a Nintendo 64 cartridge, and voila! It works!

    Also… *tick*…? o_O

  2. The difference between software and hardware: software is the one you curse, hardware is the one you kick ;)

  3. I once fixed my PlayStation 2 with a friendly smack… Awesome feeling of victory!!!

  4. Magda

    No silly, don’t smack it! It’s much better to be kind to your computer if you want those files to be useful :)

    • wendy

      LOL! That’s pretty much what my husband does…replace chimp-like sound effects for curses. Smack. Swear. Repeat…at inanimate objects! Like they have any control? No. They are helpless! We’re all certain he likes that they don’t talk back! Even though they freeze, lock up RED and come back around after a quiet time, when they’re good and ready to!
      He hasn’t figured this out yet, but is working on it…meanwhile, we get to enjoy some more laughs at his expense. What else can one do:)

    • Freddo

      Hansel, haven’t you been smoking Peyote for six straight days, and couldn’t some of this maybe be in your head? And it was. I was totally fine. I’ve never even been to Mount Vesuvius.

      • Kathy

        Don’t you think I know what a you-googly is?!

        Oh no, you shouldn’t have started this…


        • Freddo

          What is this.. a school for ANTS???

          (I know we’ve done the whole Zoolander-quote-thread to death, but I could definitely revisit it every 100 posts or so.. it’s so worth it..)

          • Mads

            “Who am I?” *Phone rings*
            “Hello, Derek are you hearing me??”
            “… God??!”

            I absolutely couldn’t resist from adding on!

  5. wendy

    One of the first things to teach children!
    I AM SLAP HAPPY This Made The List:)

    • Gabriel

      Agree! Kids have so many battery operated toys it works on as well.
      (or, take batteries out and rub on jeans- also learned on this blog.
      or, shut down, give rest, re-start…repaired- also learned on this blog.
      or ask and chances are someone has answer- also found on this blog:)

      So happy the Fonz *hit the list*…HEEEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

  6. Alison

    We called that “percussive maintenance” on our computers at work!

  7. Ken

    Part of my job is computer support, and one day I had a voicemail from a user saying her PC had died. I made a site visit to find that another tech had replaced her hard drive, which unfortunately contained needed data. I tracked him down and found that he had determined that the drive was dead – it wouldn’t even spin up. Since it was dead, there was nothing to lose, so I gave it a good solid whack, and lo! it spun up one more time, giving me a chance to recover the data for my user. Doesn’t happen often, but its good to know the smack-em technique works occaisionally.

  8. Ah, The Fonz…
    Nice retro image, good sir!

  9. Heh. Know I’ve done this one to computers. A smack, a glare and some stern words actually works more often than you’d think. Actually, I don’t know anyone who works in IT who doesn’t speak to their machines.

  10. jdurley

    Yes! This is essential electronics maintenance.
    Step 1: try smacking it
    Step 2: jiggle it around a little
    Step 3: try turning it off and back on
    Step 4: smack it again, cursing optional
    After that, I’m out of my element – time to call in some reinforcements.

    Did anyone else think those were needles floating in the toilet bowl? No? Just me? (Drugs are bad, mmmkay?)

    • Kathy

      That’s exactly what I thought were floating in the toilet! Before I read each day’s post, I do a quick scroll-through to see the day’s pics. Well, after reading the today’s title and seeing needles in the toilet, I wondered how they all fit together. When electronics won’t work, it drives one to do drugs? When you’ve clogged the toilet with your drug needles, just give it a smack and it’ll flush? Smacking old jukeboxes like The Fonz did is a gateway activity on the road to hard drugs?

      • Freddo

        Hmmm.. all good thoughts, Kathy.. Glad to hear that I WON’T actually be at risk of picking up a nasty drug habit next time my computer goes on the fritz..

        (For the record, when I first glanced at the photo of the toilet, I thought those were pregnancy test sticks.. Don’t ask how I thought that was going to be related to the post at hand..)

        • Kathy

          That’s easy…

          video game won’t work…so you hang out with your girlfriend instead…9 months later, you’re a dad. A lesson to all: just give it a smack to avoid unwanted pregnancy!

          • Freddo

            Hehehe.. I like it.. Plus, that’s a very good euphemistic explanation for the kids at home..

            “You know, I was just “hanging out” with my girlfriend, and all of a sudden I became a dad..”

            There are going to be scores of kids now who will be petrified to hang out with their girlfriends at the mall or something, for fear of what could happen.

            • jdurley

              This is what happens when you remove Sex Ed. from the schools… or as they call it up here in Canada, “Growth and Development”. But the geekteen assures me, “it’s all sex”.

  11. jen325

    The second picture is EXACTLY why I always put the lid down.

  12. Julia

    My bedroom is above the kitchen too. I am hearing the kitchen noises right now!

  13. Sasha

    I saw toothbrushes straight away but couldn’t believe there was not a clean toilet and toothbrushes returned to the holder for brother to brother pay back!

  14. Sasha

    Oh. that was supposed to go with the thread about what other s saw in the toilet. Ha!
    I do feel quite tecnologically brilliant when I fix something with a good old smack:)

  15. Lucy

    We used to do that to the VCR – as it got old, the picture got snowy, so you’d give it a whack on the top and it stopped snowing, leaving you free to enjoy your video :-)

  16. I had a transistor which would go silent often. A friendly thump and it would wake up again!

  17. Lisa Moose

    Totally all about smacking things when they don’t work. Slamming things on the other hand when things aren’t going well is a totally different situation. For instance when my computer is slow and a file won’t open I find that slamming my mouse or the keyboard does me no good. Just saying…

  18. This post put a smile on my face. I have to smack the light-switch in my home gym every day in order to turn it on. (Thanks to my husband’s limited electrical skills) Working out in the dark just isn’t very appealing.

  19. NO. 33!!! definitely one of the most awesome things!!!
    I love this blog!
    Check out http://amthatcrazyafricangirl.wordpress.com

  20. DVD X Player is the World’s First Region Free DVD Player –Watch ANY DVD in the world! REGION FREE, CODE FREE, MULTI ZONE, MULTI REGION AND WILL PLAY ANY REGION DVD 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7…. Guaranteed!!!

  21. seriously, I HAVE to do this to make my washing machine work. it does nothing before I smack it XD

  22. Quentin

    I believe the technical term is Percussive Maintenance. :)

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