How to Survive Spilling a Drink on Your Laptop

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How to Survive Spilling a Drink on Your Laptop

Did you just spill a delicious beverage on your computer? A delicious, refreshing beverage? Don’t panic.

When I recently spilled a bottle of Strawberry Guanabana Vitamin Water Zero (not a sponsor) on my laptop, I learned that putting a shawl around it and whispering “Goodnight, sweet prince” is the wrong approach. After it died, I set the laptop on a funeral pyre, lit it on fire, and pushed it out onto the water in a LA Fitness pool.

But you, my friends, you can succeed where I failed. Here’s what to do:

Finish whatever you’re working on
Time is of the essence when the beverage hits your laptop. First finish whatever emails you’re writing and change your Facebook status to “Spilled drink on laptop. Have to go. :( “ After waiting for the adequate amount of likes, immediately shut down the computer. It may start acting weird if you leave it on. Mine played that clip from The Matrix when the blond girl says, “Not like this, not like this.”

Turn the laptop upside to prevent the liquid from penetrating the more sensitive areas, like you would with a drowning person (I’m not a lifeguard). And for God’s sake, if there’s some beverage left in the offending glass or bottle, take the time to finish it. You need your strength.

Which liquids are best to spill
The difficulty of drying your laptop heavily depends on what kind of delicious beverage you spilled. Water’s okay, juice is bad, and milkshakes are even worse, especially if they’re good milkshakes with little pieces of banana in them. Gasoline’s bad. Oil’s no good. Go-Gurt’s bad. Sulfuric acid, bird shit, Fresca — all bad. And lava. Lava’s probably the worst. You don’t want to spill a glass of lava on your keyboard, but why would you have a glass of lava near your laptop? You keep that on the floor.

If you’re planning to spill on your computer, at least make sure it’s a glass of something harmless, like Army Men, marbles, powdered water, jealousy or those little tapioca balls in bubble tea. Don’t spill the bubble tea, though. That would be terrible.

How to dry your laptop
There are various options for drying your laptop that most people don’t even consider. You could throw it in the dryer, hang it over a laundry line, hold it out your car window while driving, or put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees with a chicken pot pie. Some prefer to take the computer apart and spot dry it with paper towels, which requires a tremendous amount of patience and a really tiny screwdriver. I tried this, but seeing the laptop’s insides made me puke all over it. I’m queasy like that.

If you really care about your computer and a repair store is open, keep that baby upside down and hit the gas like there’s a woman in labor on your backseat, or you have takeout food that’s getting cold. Run into the store yelling “I need a nerd here!” and they’ll promptly take your laptop away on a gurney.

Should this happen at night when a repair shop isn’t open, dry as much of the inside as you can with a paper towel, and then lay your laptop upside down over dried white rice, which will absorb some of the remaining moisture (or brown rice, if you’re the healthy type). But take it in the next day, as they sort of know what they’re doing.

What the professionals will do
As you pace back and forth in the waiting room, the experts will work quickly to salvage your motherboard, and when the tech guy later emerges from the double doors in circuit-covered surgical scrubs, he’ll give it to you straight. He may announce that your Dell is dead, and direct you to a grief counselor. He may say they were only able to save the left Shift key. Or he may simply mumble that they’re doing what they can.

A week and about 500 clams later your laptop will be right as rain, dry and clean and free of all those pesky work files and pictures of your grandparents during the war that you forgot to backup. Or they just might save your files, though when you utter “Thank God,” you’ll secretly admit to yourself that nothing on your computer is actually important, not even the gifs.

How to prevent future spills
The simplest way to prevent spilling is to become a breatharian. But if you’re not up for that, try to keep any beverage at least three car lengths away from the computer, preferably outside the apartment. Cover the keyboard in a layer of plastic like it’s my grandmother’s sofa, and never work in potentially wet areas, including waterslides, tsunami zones, Turkish saunas or inside a narwhal.

This brings a final philosophical question: What if your laptop and a friend who can’t swim both fall into a river? What do you do? Obviously, you take them both out of the water, turn each upside down, and lay them over a bed of rice.

Photo by Perzonseo Webbyra, CC BY 2.0

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