Earlier this week, there was a death in some extended family. It hasn’t really taken a huge impact on myself or my immediate family due to how distant the kin was, but they lived close enough to where we knew who they were. Since the surviving kids didn’t have much support, my mom and dad stepped in to help them out as they usually do with this kind of thing. Since I’m the techy guy in the family (i.e. the only one who knows how to operate Microsoft PowerPoint) I was asked to help out with some of the aspects of the memorial service which took place this morning.
Now, I have to split this post up into two parts. The first is going to be more or less a list of all the things that didn’t go quite as planned, and in hindsight it was pretty humorous given the circumstances. The second is going to be about how they all went right, so bear with me.
I was given about twenty five pictures that I needed to turn into a slideshow for the service and put music over it. Easy enough, scan the pictures, put them in order, bam, done. I was too cheap to buy the music they requested, so I just downloaded the songs from Spotify and had a plan to plug my phone into the church’s sound system (spoiler: that part worked great). Easy enough, I showed up to the church about half an hour early so that I could set up and I was greeted by the most adorable little potato of a man who apparently was the pastor there. He had no idea how computers worked, as evidenced by the fact that he was struggling with the church’s system when I walked in. I first thought he was the tech guy, actually. Turns out that their tech guy was on vacation, also that the pastor hadn’t turned on the computer yet, so I turned it on and he knowingly moved out of my way so I could work my magic.
I struggled with the sound system for a little bit before finding the plug I needed and I got everything going. Awesome! Now it was time to actually start the service. I went and found Mr. Potato and asked when he wanted to start. He said that the guy who was performing the service was ready and that I could begin. So, I cut the music but let the slideshow keep going in the back. The guy delivering the service, we’ll call him Mr. Nervous because he was, continued to do nothing. Then he stood up, walked around for a second in front of the silent church room, and sat back down before looking at me. Puzzled. AS IF I KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING.
Luckily Mr. Potato joined me at this point and I was able to ask if he knew to start. We both motioned to Mr. Nervous to start doing things and I think he got the hint, because he stood up and said something. I was clearly not being an active listener, because I did not hear what he said before he sat back down and stared at me again. There was a war brewing between myself and Mr. Nervous, and the ball was now in my court. Well played, Mr. Nervous, but you underestimated Mr. Potato! No, actually, he did not, I was so lost. I looked at Mr. Potato and asked what he wanted me to do, and he informed me that I was supposed to play some music.
“What music?” I asked.
“Oh, they downloaded it for you this morning,” said Mr. Potato.
I frantically began searching every folder in the church computer, but found no such records of music. I had failed, but if I was to go down, Mr. Nervous was to come with me. I told Mr. Potato to tell him to start with the actual message, and Mr. Nervous complied, very nervously. After some more searching, Mr. Potato handed me a piece of paper that contained the tentative (read: obsolete) schedule of events for the service. As I started reading the songs, I realized that they were the songs that I had played over the PowerPoint.
“Who downloaded these?”
“Oh, some woman came in this morning and gave me a disk with them on it,” responded Mr. Potato.
“Where is it?” I asked.
“Oh, I think I handed it to you!”
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a thumb drive. “You mean this?”
“Yup, that’s it. It has the songs on it.”
In that moment I didn’t have the heart to tell Mr. Potato that I was the woman and that there were no songs on this thumb drive shaped disk. Instead, I could only look deep inside of myself and wonder who nobody had tried to prepare me for this day, and how I was going to fix it.
Ultimately, we decided to scrap two of the songs since they had already been played, so when Mr. Nervous finished we basically played Amazing Grace over some of the slides and we wrapped up!
Now, it might sound like I’m making light out of someone else’s tragedy, but knowing the person who was lost I think today went pretty much exactly how she would have wanted it. It wasn’t a total catastrophe, but it wasn’t exactly smooth and polished either, like our family. Her daughter was surrounded by people who were there to support her and help her through this time, and I’m glad that I could help be a part of it in some small way.
Also, Mr. Potato and I are totally besties now.