This past week I have been helping my daughter prepare for a trip back to her home in Nepal. As part of this trip we plan on sending back a laptop to her younger brothers for use in their school.

I love a deal and could not resist the 1/2 price special on a HP laptop I found in a store near my office. The only problem is the laptop had one missing key. The ; key.

No problem, being a “perfectly good engineer that went bad” I figure I can fix that key and score a new laptop at cut rate prices. I called HP and found the part number and prepared to order the key. Luck would have it that I happen to own a brand new very similar HP laptop that I purchased for myself. My great engineering mind at work determined that if I popped the key off on my laptop I would then be able to place my key on the new laptop in time to send it with my daughter. Plop…. off went the key. I carefully examined it and placed it back on. It went on OK, but it had a horrific side to side wobble and was not firm and taunt like the other keys. I decided to try again. I watched closely and I said to myself as I put my nose right down to the keys and plop off went the 2nd key. Regretfully despite two hours of painstaking reassembly effort I now had two wobbly keys. My logic kicked in and I thought, “well it is under warranty and I will call and confess to HP the evils of engineering and they will send me a RA tag for my new laptop”. I then had one last brilliant idea. “Hey the wobble is just not that bad and the ; key is just not used that much. I will buy that cut rate laptop and send it around the world.” Pop off went the key and I raced to the store to purchase my new gift for my Nepalese friends. When I arrived at the store there was no laptop with a missing key. As I inquired about the laptop, the sales clerk stated “the strangest thing, it sat here for two months, and this morning a guy walked in and purchased it. ……..

Lesson learned, when it is fully functioning and you are guessing at what you are doing, don’t pop new parts off your laptop or your business. Both have a tendency to be very temperamental.