Monday, May 11, 2009


After five and a half years of mostly-loyal service, two hard-drive replacement surgeries, one crippling CD-Drive disaster, a Root Beer/keyboard mishap, and countless software malfunctions, my Dell Inspiron 5150 has been officially declared comatose by the one English-speaking member of Dell`s Japanese tech support center. The diagnosis is either a bad graphics card or a motherboard problem; and either way it`s not worth fixing.

Funny, it feels like I`m betraying an old friend by saying that. That computer outlasted every car I`ve ever owned, got me through a half-dozen all-nighters, carried my senior thesis, and was the center of many groundbreaking ideas (or at least ones that seemed groundbreaking at the time). But we live in a consumer throw-away society, and computers (like our cars, cell phones, VCRs, DVD players, sneakers, glasses, stereo systems, and MP3 players) are designed to last until the newer models come out, then get thrown away in favor of a more expensive purchase. Affordable repairmen are a relic of the past...God help me, I`m waxing sentimental drivel again. Can`t have that, now, can we?

There`s been a lot of loss surrounding so many of our lives lately, and the thing to do is forge on bravely against the darkness, for perhaps it is our destiny for everything we ever cared about to grow old, break down, outlive its usefulness, and get left behind.

Or maybe just everything I ever cared about.


Randall said...

Wouldn't call it "drivel." I once wrote a lot just to bemoan the loss of a computer too. Seems odd now, considering, but it was still like a partner to what I did, and what I did was important to me.

There's a line from a song I like that goes "Things I have loved I'm allowed to keep." Holding on to things for sentimental reasons is easily dismissed as foolhardy. I don't always get that. Some objects serve a certain purpose on the surface, and then also personally remind of us of times, places, and people who were important. And what if they're needed one last time, even when they've seemingly outlasted their usefulness?

Important to move on, but I hate leaving things behind too. I'm with you, Ian.

Sam said...

It's definitely not silly to feel that way. "Usefulness" is entirely subjective. I use my laptops until they almost literally explode, becoming dusty relics of technology long past, updated and replaced and fixed more times than most people would want to bother. Laptops have been my most important link to the world since I was in 6th grade, and I know how hard it can be to let them go. We tell them our most important ideas, hold life changing conversations on them, and share with them our deepest secrets-even if we hit delete as soon as the words are written.
I got your email and I'll write you up a little advice column when I get home. Rest assured, you will love a computer again. :]

Danicus said...

hey man, i just got the postcard you sent me! it was great hearing from you, the whole 'dead computer' debacle sure has made things hard as far as keeping in touch goes. So how are things in the Land of the Rising Sun?

Linda Bui said...

hi. this is completely random. i googled kofu and teaching, and i found your blog. i am going there to teach next month also, and i was wondering if i could ask you questions about your experience.