Google PR people never got back to me on my hysterical Monday request to talk to a human being about whether all my videos are about to be deleted from the universe.
As hard as it is to imagine, maybe they had bigger fish to fry.
But I'm not some dumb jamoke either, so I reached out on Wednesday to Laura Hunter Thomas, an old speechwriting acquaintance from Chicago who recently went to work for Google, in internal executive comms.
Or, "Saint Laura" as I've come to call her.
"I'm still a newbie at Google," Saint Laura wrote, "but I will do my best to figure out what the heck is happening."
Her own requests for help weren't returned by a PR department that apparently does indeed have bigger fish to fry. But Saint Laura, herself no expert in the vagaries of YouTube accounts—she's a nitwit writer too, remember!—did some digging on her own and we set up a time to talk.
Ahead of our call, she sent me a thread she found, of Google/YouTube victims trying to solve similar problems to mine. I wrote her back:
Laura, this might as well be written in Polish and then converted into a Chinese font.
Here was the most helpful suggestion I found: 汉字 /漢字 汉字 /漢字 .
I know. What a fucking baby I am, right?
So Saint Laura calls me at the appointed hour, and we have an odd conversation that involves the necessary and increasingly hilarious repeating of the stupid name of the account in question, slimmyfucker.
And it was so strange, what happened. I don't think Saint Laura told me anything I didn't already know. Maybe she made me understand once and for all that accounts and channels are separate and that an account can be conceivably closed without the channel disappearing.
But mainly, she just talked to me. She asked me if I have my videos backed up on my computers. It occurred to me for the very first time that—why yes, for Chrissakes, I guess I do! My shoulders dropped nearly to my ass with relief.
We then typed in a password or two. We discovered together—we came up with a shared strong hunch, is more like it—that probably what would happen to my channels if they canceled the slimmyfucker account as they threatened to do next Saturday—was nothing. Which is fine with me, because I have access to both my channels through other e-mail accounts.
"I'm starting to get that warm and happy feeling coming over me," I told her, and Saint Laura laughed. (Saint Laura has a great sense of humor!) She added that Google realizes it has customer service issues, and is working to improve them. She was sure to point out that this was just a friend helping a friend and that this was no kind of technical support. But now I have someone to call if it all goes wrong and one of my channels does go missing.
It's Friday afternoon. It's been a wild week. I'm ready for a cocktail. But everything already has a gauzy glow.
I told you all I needed was to talk to a human being.
And oh, what a human being I talked to.
Laura, you're a saint.
Now google forth and multiply.
Laura Hunter Thomas says
David, as ever, your prose and your praise are heartfelt (and a leeetle overwrought). Next time I’m in Chicago – you’re buying.
David Murray says
And she drinks, too!
Peter Dean says
You mean to say that you didn’t notice that all three characters reappear in different places separated by leaning walls, just as they do in “The Mystery of the Chinese Bungalow”? No wonder you panicked!
Can we at least get an explanation for the genesis of “slimmyfucker”? I want to party with that rockstar.
David Murray says
Jason, as I bashfully explained to Saint Laura, my last dog was named Slim. Which makes the phrase seem at once less inflammatory … and more.