When I awoke yesterday morning the iPhone 8 Plus battery was just about drained, and it wouldn’t activate. It was plugged into a smallish Jackery battery, but the charging cord was one of those shitty ones they sell at gas stations. The battery icon showed that the phone was all but drained with just a little bit of red of the left side, and it wouldn’t power up.

So I tried to fix things with the assistance of a friendly but none-too-bright Apple tech assistance person. I knew she wasn’t that brilliant when she said she’d never heard of Jackery external batteries, and then was asking me over and over when was the last time I’d charged the phone straight from a wall socket, blah blah. “Never”, I said.

Then I talked to a smarter Apple person, and his advice was to submit the phone to a Genius Bar session at the Grove Apple store. He got me a 4:30 pm appointment. Thanks.

Four or five hours later I was at the store and showing the phone (still plugged into the Jackery battery with that shitty white cord) to a Genius Bar guy. He was gay and 40ish (am I allowed to describe a person this way?) and something about his speech and manner told me “be careful…he’s not Albert Einstein.” (The best Genius Bar techs are always mercurial types in their 20s and 30s.)

Gay Genius Guy tried this and that in the back room, and came back with an unusual diagnosis. The phone wasn’t turning on because a badly loaded app was keeping the mechanism from going through the necessary steps.

“A bad app? An app that hasn’t loaded correctly?” I said, giving him the side-eye. “I’ve been grappling with iPhones for 12 years now, and I’ve never once heard of problematic software preventing a phone for tuning on.” GGG said there’s always a first time for anything.

“But it’s clearly seems to be a battery issue,” I argued. “How do you know that an app is causing this?”

We went back and forth. The only safe and comprehensive solution, he maintained, was to wipe the phone of all data and reload it through iTunes, which would have been a huge pain in the ass and eaten up a lot of time. I guess I was frowning and pouting a bit, but I really didn’t like this guy or his diagnosis.

GGG: “So do you want to wipe all the data and start over?” Me: “Well, frankly, no, but it sounds like I have no choice. Submit to this remedy or I can’t use the phone.” GGG (a bit testy): “You have a choice, sir. I’m asking you if you want to go ahead .” Me: “We’re having a semantic discussion. I obviously don’t have a choice if the second choice is to do nothing and not use the phone because it won’t turn on.”

Our conversation began to go downhill. Gay Genius Guy didn’t like my attitude or my tone or whatever, and so he excused himself and sent somebody else over.

A second Genius Guy (younger, amiable, obviously smarter) came over, and I told him what had happened. The first thing he did was take out an Apple charging cord and plug my phone into a wall outlet. The phone began to charge right away, and within a couple of minutes it activated. Problem solved! So all along it was the fault of that stupid cheap charging card I’d brought with me.

Thank God the GGG gave up and abandoned me.