There’s a scene in The Bridge on the River Kwai (’57) when William Holden angrily kicks a non-functioning two-way radio, and suddenly it’s working again. There’s a scene in The Hot Rock (’72) in which a police precinct captain (William Redfield) is told by a subordinate that the phones aren’t working, and he asks “well, did you jiggle it? Did you…you know, fiddle around with it?” There’s a bit in The Empire Strikes Back (’80) when the Millennium Falcon won’t turn over and so Han Solo twice slams a console with his fist and wham…it’s working again.

11 years ago my last and final Windows laptop (I had more or less become a Mac person two years earlier) stopped working in some fashion — it was acting all gummy and sluggish — and so I decided to bitch-slap it a couple of times. Instead of suddenly springing to life, the laptop more or less died. Violence, I realized with a start, was not the answer. Times and technology had changed. I resolved at that moment never to try and William Holden or Harrison Ford or William Redfield my way out of a technical problem again.