IT heroes are real in Oxford

Published 3:30 pm Friday, February 18, 2022

Thank you, God for leading me to “Camelot” – Oxford, Mississippi, the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) to work on Campus with our amazing students, complete my Ph.D., in Counseling, and be my forever home since 1988.

Arriving in Oxford, asked God to please let me obtain my Ph.D.; get a real job on Campus; drive a real car; live in my dream house; travel to Europe…and perhaps the most impossible – to be in love for the first time in my life – and was humbly granted all…except the last request….

Then in 2002, God’s wisdom guided me to NMRC (North Mississippi Regional Center) where I worked with amazing residents and staff until 2010 when both hips needed replacing.  In 2009 met, I thought, the love of my life in a Scottish lass who worked at NMRC, became engaged, wonderful trips to Scotland, England, fantastic family, but alas, no – she allowed me to visit the UK and fulfill that prayer…but would not be, “she…”

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In 2011, she broke the engagement (a blessing) had both hips replaced, severe eye issues, gall bladder surgery, other issues then and since, and wonderful medical heroes who are keeping me upright and pieced together.

Last Wednesday, February 9, researching the web on how to use my new, never used, Craftsman multimeter to check the battery/generator on my 1964 Land Rover IIA, was directed to “Manual” and when I clicked on it – BLOODY HELL, horns, whistles went off, flashing message and a loud voice that said DO NOT SHUT COMPUTER OFF call this “Microsoft” number! 

My first reaction was how in heck did this occur on a wee Craftsman tool manual site, then thought whew, swell Malwarebytes is working – but with “red flags” flying, called the number and a smooth Asian sounding guy rather “forcibly” said, “I need to take control of your computer immediately!”  Well, that wasn’t unusual in the past with AT&T and our Ole Miss IT techs, so followed instructions, watched as he roamed through my computer – yikes!

Really got suspicious when I told dude I had Malwarebytes protecting my computer suggested by my Ole Miss Help Desk friend, Chris Barnes and he pulled this “box” out of his “ear” showing that Windows 7 and 8 were protected, but not 10!  Then I began messing with him by telling him that was odd when the head tech at The University of Mississippi suggested I use it, asked his name “Patrick Liam” (“Liam O Riordain”) he began getting extremely defensive and rattled.

As I continued to ask him questions, the purpose of all this became clear as he said I needed to add their protection to my computer, immediately! $300 for 5 years, $400 lifetime. When I questioned him about this being a service of Microsoft, he said you need to do this now – they would accept Visa, but because this was an emergency, would accept “Visa Vanilla” like a gift card…that couldn’t be traced….

When I said I was going to call Chris to check on all this and call him back, he said – “Sir, you think you’re pretty smart, it’s obvious we can’t help you,” and poof, he was gone!  

In his wake he left my computer a wreck – couldn’t log in.  So, having used “ubreakifix” on Jackson Ave before called them.  This is where that team of IT computer angels took over, beginning with Elliotte Tatum who off the bat calmed me down.  “We deal with this all the time, can help you, bring your computer in” – did so that afternoon.  Whew!

Thursday, after early 8:30am Mass, called to check on the progress, and Jarod Britt (special thanks) said his initial “triage” revealed that besides the scammers damage, my hard drive was rubbish and about to crash – Duh! He said he first had to save it spending a good deal of time to do so, then install a new updated hard drive, and downloaded all my stuff to it!

On Tuesday, February 15, Lily Stevens sent me a text that my computer was ready – straight there, Kyle McGrevey told me what was done, and Jessica Seifer walked me wonderfully through my “new” computer.   Being way OCD, sort of blew my mind that most all my stuff was there, scattered, but my problem-solving genes found it energizing…sort of….

With this column due at 5pm Thursday, February 17 and so uncomfortable with the Word setup, called our Ole Miss Help Desk and Joe Dubois took control of my computer and righted the ship! More than that, Joe was a great guy, and we established a swell friendship…isn’t that what this life is all about y’all?  Peace Out.

So, thank you God, IT warriors, praying for Liam to change, and thanks for calling attention to my failing hard drive! 


Steve received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, lives in Oxford, and cam be  reached at