Wrapping Up a Mischief

From time to time, I like to hand out advice for aspiring mischief-makers. I impart such pearls of wisdom as “plan ahead”, “take your time”, “pick the right moment”, “hit them where it hurts”, “enlist the help of minions and felines”, etc. Of course, no one can hope to approach my level of naughtiness, but the more chaos in the world, the better.

Today’s lesson is: Know When to Call it A Day. This week I have wrapped up a very long-running project. Readers who are paying attention will recall that, while on a short trip back in September to visit the human female’s mother, I worked my magic on the human male’s prized camera, causing it to malfunction. It was throwing a weird error message, but if he tried to take a photo, it would actually do it, and then he could keep taking photos as normal.

He did some research and learned that this was a Known Fault and that there was a recall. If he was willing to be parted from it for a short time, the manufacturer would fix it and send it back.

There ensued a Wrapping Project, which involved hunting for packing tape, not finding packing tape, buying packing tape, hunting a Suitable Box, hunting a second Suitable Box because the human female insists on two boxes with cushioning between, as well as multiple iterations of the return address, both inside and out. The male printed a little label for the camera itself, giving his name and information. He printed out the postage paid shipping label. That took several tries because I never tire of the pdf vs printer scaling struggle.

The finished parcel went to the manufacturer via Unrepentant Package Squashers. It managed to make its way there, with the human male tracking its progress like a starving cat watching a mouse hole. The required service was performed, and he tracked its progress all the way home.

It arrived with a whole sheaf of paperwork.

Eagerly he put the battery back in, loaded up a memory card, and pointed the lens at the nearest stationary object.


Ehehehehe! Usually, that rapid-fire shutter noise indicates a sports photographer capturing some exciting feat of athletic prowess. Unfortunately, in this case it signified only that a great deal of diddly squat was happening. No shutter opening, no mirror moving, and definitely no photos happening.

The service papers were examined a second time.

No hint of trouble here. He cleaned some contacts, removed and reinserted several bits, and tried again.


To say that the human male was Not Pleased is an understatement. I, however, was plenty tickled.

A call to the manufacturer elicited the predictable response: “Well, it was working when it left here. Guess Unrepentant Package Squashers shook it a little too hard in transit. We’ll send you another shipping label. Send it back and we’ll look at it again.”

The resulting growl would have done Fenrir proud.

The human male watched his email for the promised shipping label. And watched. And watched. When he could stand it no longer, he called and inquired as to just how long it took to make a label and attach it to an email. The Helpful Person on the other end (trained by me, of course) said it was definitely in the priority stack and someone would get to it Very Soon.

The next week, he called again and had essentially the same conversation. It was like one of those fairy tales, the ones where the quest has to be attempted three times or the princess has to go to the ball three nights running to snare the prince. You know the ones.

A few days later, the promised label arrived. The humans did the whole packaging routine all over again (sans buying tape, because they did remember they had some). The label was printed and reprinted until it was larger than a postage stamp. And then I reminded the human male that even though he had taken the main camera battery out, there was still a smaller, non-removable battery that powers some other portion of the contraption, and it requires a Special Warning Label before it can be shipped–something that should have been on the first package.

And this Special Warning Label? It’s in color, of course, and the humans don’t have a functional color printer. The male was obliged to go to a copy center and print one.

Interesting fact: Felines are easily spooked by tooth-gnashing noises.

The package was reassembled and thoroughly inspected.

At last, it was deemed ready to mail.

So back it went–to the Main Service Center this time, with the human male tracking its progress and waiting for the all-important notification that it had arrived back at the manufacturer.

Not too long after, he received a notice from Unrepentant Package Squashers that it was on its way back. Before the service center even acknowledged having it. (I liked that little touch!)

The camera arrived. It was carefully unpacked. The main battery went in. A memory card was inserted. The camera was aimed and the shutter pressed.

Click! Success!

Why did I not cause the camera to malfunction a third time? Because I know when to quit. I had achieved my goal–multiple weeks without the camera, two trips to the UPS place, two trips to shops (for tape and label print out), multiple phone calls, several weeks of waiting, aggravation from camera service personnel AND parcel service personnel, and some dental damage, which will likely be permanent.

That was. . . Enough. A true Mischief Artiste knows when to bow and accept accolades for his achievements. So the Great Camera Caper of 2021 is one for the books.

Until, of course, I hide the lens cap.

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