By Joe Darby
Well, if any of you folks have wondered where I’ve been (yes, all three of you), I will tell you that I haven’t been anywhere, but my computer has.
Early last week, around July 1 or 2, my computer just about up and died. I couldn’t access emails to read or send new ones, but strangely enough I could select emails to be killed from my list. I could access other websites, but it took so long to do so that I’d often give up. Then, finally, everything pretty much just froze up solid and my browser icon even disappeared from my task bar, as if it were the last rat deserting a sinking ship.
So I unplugged the myriad connections from the back of the computer, lugged it out to the car and brought it on down to my very friendly and efficient computer guru (let’s call him CG for short) to have it fixed. He accepted the broken item, (it was late in the day) then the following morning he notified me that he had a family death in another state and he would be gone for about a week.
I wasn’t about to trust my computer to anybody but CG, so I told him I’d wait until he got back and could take a look at it. Which he promptly did upon his return to Natchitoches. He found lots and lots of clutter in the machine and advised me that much of the computer’s capacity was pretty much maxed out. Well, he obviously took a good computer broom to the device, because it’s working well and fast right now.
So. For many years I’d tell anyone who asked that I had no use for a computer and that I’d likely never buy one. Well, of course I did, a number of years back, and have become reliant and dependent on it like probably all of you out there. First of all, I use the emails it for quick communications, though I realize there are now other more modern methods to use for that.
I do not have a smart phone, but about a year ago we bought an inexpensive little tablet, as they call it, for convenience. It’s a cheap little device that usually freezes up after five minutes or so of use, but at least I could use it to delete emails every day that my computer was in the shop. Otherwise I would have been facing several hundred notifications, ranging from offers to fix me a new rook, to miracle medical cures to authentic messages from friends and acquaintances. I wasn’t about to write long replies (or my NPJ column) on the tablet because it has no keyboard and using it to write would have entailed the touch-a-letter method, which would have taken forever.
What else do I use the computer for? The usual things, checking our bank accounts, communicating with Netflix to let them know what DVD I want to see next, playing a couple of computer games — mostly Mahjong, ordering books and the occasional other item from Amazon, getting notifications of upcoming events of interest, etc. etc. One could go on and on, but you know what I’m talking about.
When my computer was freezing up and I couldn’t even do something simple like check my bank account, I will admit I got pretty upset. I had fantasies of throwing the monitor out the window. Or even better, taking my Colt .45 1911 semi-automatic, bringing the computer out to the range and using it for target practice. That would have been an expensive target but I suspect rather emotionally satisfying.
So bottom line, sometimes I hate the darned thing but can’t live without it. I suspect that some of you may feel the same way.
By Joe Darby