"Can you fix it?" A fairly good question, widely used, innocuous and polite in most cases. A query that usually garners results. Even I, the bumbling Dr. Ballistic, have employed that very same phrase many a crisp autumn day.
"Can you fix it?" I ask the mechanic as my prehistoric jalopy wheezes in the garage, its death-rattles almost drowned by the bevy of shrieks and whines of other machines being worked on other cars. I mean yeah, I'm all prepped with a notepad, my pencil plucked from its throne behind my ear, to jot down its last wish ("I've always wanted a fuchsia hubcap, Ballistic") and indeed, the mechanic has already doffed his cap out of respect (or the heat), but I ask anyway. Wanna know why? Because I have hope; that old geezer's been faking deaths on me for a good decade, what's a few more? And because fixing fussy dinomobiles is the mechanic's diddling job.
"Can you fix it?" I ask IT Guy after my OnlineProgramFor BetterStudentPerformance And AlsoBecauseThisGoodInstitutionIsTryingDesperately ToBeHipAndTrendy (TM) absolutely refuses to let me log in. I've even threatened it with eye-watering yodeling (I am cultured, my friends!) and we all know yodeling is the remedy to most of life's problems. It would be so much easier to trundle along as I have for so long, physical handouts, email attachments, workshops and all, but I ask anyway. Wanna know why? Because I have hope it will interest these world-weary souls who seem to find nothing interesting in life, because I hope it will increase their performance, because I hope it will enhance my students' learning experience. And because fixing interweb glitches is IT Guy's diddling job.
See what I mean? A nice, useful question in most cases.
But not this case, Forlorn Fred. Not. This. Case. This is a month before final exams; the withdrawal date passed ages ago. I sent out emails the week before that fateful date, Fred, emails to those who absolutely could not pass this course unless they managed to finagle wishes from the Genie of Grades, and there was radio silence from your end of the cosmos. You've missed more classes than you've attended and because my lectures consist of more than me reading aloud from the textbook and jazzing to Yakety Sax, there were questions on the midterm you couldn't figure out.
"This werehamster breed wasn't in the book! The book only talked about wererhodentia! Ballistic, dude, you gotta help me! My grade's really bad! Can you fix it?"
Fred, my dear, dear fellow. This is not the time for that question and you have no right asking it. Wanna know why? Because you have no hope of passing this course. And because fixing your grade is not my diddling job.