No Computer! Heaven or hell?

No Computer! Heaven or hell?

The computer started glitching about a week ago. The download speed crawled to a pathetic slowness, peanut butter in January could run quicker. Then I couldn’t access documents and before you could say gigabytes I knew exactly what to do. Though in many ways I am a neophyte to the electronic age, but fearlessly, with complete confidence the course of action was clear — “Help.” My wife, with the annoyed and bemused look that one gives a kitten who soiled the rug for the umpteenth time said, “Turn off the computer and turn it back on.” A miracle! Buttons flashed and whirred. I felt empowered, able to master the chicanery of this malevolent force, and I was sure that the electrons that were supposed to find their way to the place where electrons and whatchamacallits were supposed to be.
Had I been a saboteur in a previous life? One who threw their sabot (wooden shoes) in the knitting machines at the start of the industrial age? Or was I a Luddite firmly opposed to the advances of technology? In the spring, there was an astrological indication that mercury was in retrograde or one of those cosmic bits of flatulence has infected my computer and my astonishing prowess was to little avail. My computer that was supposed to solve all my problems Then again maybe it is the idiocy of Hewlett Packard, which hired tech support technicians with the acumen of trained chimps. Well, my well-trained chimps were fairly polite and understanding, but despite new cables, reconfiguring this and that, and finally after a total of four hours on long distant phone bills the last of five technicians, in a spirit of triumph, resignation, and hopeful insight one said with supreme confidence, “Oh, yes, the input and output range needs to be increased and the problem is not the computer, but your printer.” Then I was lost in a stream of technobabble, that clearly put the ball right back in my court, and suggested that somehow if I was in the know this would have been immediately resolved. Wait! Isn’t this the kind of printer that is sold with the expectation that I feed it a disk, water it (just kidding), say nice things about it, and connect it to the printer it should work just fine? Wrong! Only in the advertisements. Hewlett Packard hell!
I had already lost half a day of work on this problem and knowing that this dark cloud would not fade anytime soon, I did what any self-respecting man would do, I gave up and went for a walk. Ah! Smart move! My feet touched the soft spring earth. I breathed in the fragrances of the succulent new flowers, and my ears were no longer inundated with the sounds of grinding gears and disk drives that coughed and gasped at my every attempt at use. Yes, these computers will be die, and hopefully be recycled as road fill. In that there is a fit death to these things there is a pleasure in knowing there just demise. I lavish so much attention on and receive such little pleasure from this relationship. I endeavor to be kind to the thing, but kindness doesn’t move it. I once was in love with a Roller Derby Queen, and beneath her streak of external mean, was a mother-load of unarticulated violence, and from there our relationship flourished — it seems that my fate with this computer is similarly entwined. I walk further in the forest, the trees grow denser, the sounds of frogs in the pond, the robins and bulges darting through the trees, woodpeckers in the trees providing percussion, and I feel rooted and less of a slave to this unrequited and unfulfilled relationship. A separation if possible. A divorce, maybe, but why be so impulsive. Maybe just kill the thing. Yes, death! Death to the machine! Death to the machine! Then I woke up startled as I heard myself mumbling pagan war chants and with vague visions of computers dancing on the ponds edge. I need to get out of my office more! I felt refreshed from my nap and knew there would be nothing to deter me. Machine and I were going to become one. Our spirits and psyches would reach new heights and Man and machine were going to commune as easily as I commune with these blessed woods. On the way back to the house I tripped over a rock and ripped my trousers. Well, there are even stones on the path to heaven.
I called a friend who was ready to guide me. I invoked the spirits of Thomas Edison and Mahatma Gandhi (for spiritual composure in the face of adversity), I took a double dose of my homeopathic remedy, I invoked a few words of prayer, “Bill Gates don’t screw me now! Dave Packard be kind!” and pushed the button. Nothing. No power. No juice. Nothing. A few calls later to some young technician in Omaha and the answer was clear, “Obviously your transformer is blown, we’ll send one right out. You should be back at work in by Monday.”
“Five days? I have to work today.”
“Okay, we’ll ship it express.”
After a sense of rage swept and helplessness swept over me, I felt a Tsunami tidal wave of pure bliss and serenity envelope me. Faced with a fate and the gods who I now heard laughing audibly and hysterically, I joined in the laughter and rolled across the floor in paroxysms laughter and tears, and closed the door to my office. The cool breeze on pond washes over me as I take this pen to paper and finish this story.

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