Coping With Death
*From my '05 archives, but something all of us will have to cope with, sooner or later*
..of a cherished member of the family.
It isn't like the loss of a loved one or a pet; it is, after all, nothing more than an electronic device. A modern telecommunication, data sending/receiving device. A wonder of technology thirty years ago, and now as common as the cold in American households.
In short, it's a darn fool piece of apparatus.
Until it dies.
I just finished reading a fellow writer's epic fight to resusitate her computer from a potentially fatal disease (aka, reloading a malfunctioning program). She spent hours on the phone with Gateway, Microsoft, Comcast and the Vatican, much of it with the issue in doubt, while paramedic-like support techs took her through all of their pre-programmed and scripted steps at diagnosing and fixing the problem. If they could.
Short of congressional intervention to determine if resusitation was warranted or not (to be followed by years of congressional committees and useless studies and blue ribbon commissions to determine environmental impacts and other less-than-useless nonsense, ad nauseum), the patient began to breathe on its' own again. Three Hail Marys and a reluctant nod to Bill Gates from my acquaintance.
The ACLU was not amused.
It reminded me of two members of my own cyberfamily who had passed on to the great salvage heap of electronicsdom. In one case, it was no more than replacing a modem that had died from Dialing Dysfunction Syndrome. But in the other case, it was truly traumatic.
The hard drive vaporlocked. Massive cybercoronary. No ER could save it; all the King's horses and all the King's men, couldn't make the stupid piece of apparatus boot up again. In the words of a EResque help desk tech, "It's dead, Jim...".
My name isn't Jim, but it was no less traumatic for the knowledge. The throes of mourning were devastating: I needed counselling (I didn't get it); I suffered sleep deprivation; my karma was torn asunder; I had lost my way (the curds I didn't care about); my life's path had been washed out. I stood on the precipice of an abysmal void, shorn of map and compass to show me the way clear.
So I did what any 30-something (at the time) pseudonerd would have done: I sought succor with wings and beer at a nearby Hooters. And took additional solace in that the night before, I had remembered to do my monthly back up of irreplaceable files on the hard drive.
With eyes a misting and a fresh mug of beer, I nodded to my ample waitress and imparted this benediction to my dearly departed darn fool piece of apparatus:
Here lies the carcass of my IBM PC
never again to syntax error at a quarter to 3;
for three years running, it served admirably
before it up and died with a motherboard-felt, "just byte me!".
*sniff*...it was quite moving. Until I tried to wipe my eyes on her t-shirt...