Thursday, December 20, 2012

This Man's Best Friend

I’m pretty attached to my computer.  OK, maybe I’m a bit more attached than most. 

Just like so many people are addicted to their smartphones, my computer is so much of a part of every day that when we’re apart, I feel a tug…a yearning…to be reunited.

When I spent a few minutes thinking about this, I realized that this relationship went way beyond mere utility.  To say my computer is simply a tool would be insulting.  Like saying someone’s kid was just a tax deduction.

No, it is something way more special.  My computer helps me do my work, communicate with others, express myself creatively.  It entertains and educates me.  It makes me laugh and makes me think.  It challenges me and never fails to amaze me.  It is my constant companion.  My trusty steed. 

When I have a need, I know that it will be there for me.  To help me find the answers.  To guide the way.  I rely on it heavily.  And it rarely fails to deliver when it need it to.

It is almost too reliable.  Maybe I take it for granted sometimes. It is so undeniably consistent that in the rare instances when it fails me, I am shocked, almost insulted.  Why, oh why have you betrayed me, computer?  What did I do to deserve this?  I plug you in when your battery gets low.  I update your software and anti-virus protection when updates become available.  I periodically wipe down your keys and spruce up your screen. 

In those instances, I typically don’t stay mad long.  I power my computer down, count to ten to cool off, and then reboot it.  Before I know it, it is back to full performance and we let bygones be bygones.

It amazes me when people have an antagonistic relationship with their computers.  “This thing doesn’t work.”  “It’s broken.”  “It’s a piece of junk.”  I shudder when I hear things like that.  Would you work for someone who treated you like that?  Of course not.  No wonder the computer is acting out.  More times than not, the problem is “operator failure” rather than the machine. 

The beauty and simplicity of computers is that they will only do what they are told.  They are the most obedient friends we can have.  If it is not programmed in the computer’s code, it can’t do anything.  If not for our input via keyboards, mice and touch screens, the computer would be inactive.  It can take no independent action.  It is loyal and devoted.  When not in use, the cursor will just sit there patiently flashing, waiting for our next request.  It will wait for hours, days or weeks.  It’s like the dog that rests on the doormat waiting for us to come home.

Sadly, there always comes a day when a computer develops a virus, blows a fan or melts down a drive.  As with other loved ones, we’ll typically take the computer to a doctor/repair service to see if its condition is operable.  Can it be saved?  Sure you can go out and buy a new computer but this one – this very computer is the one that has been through so much with you.  It holds all of the bookmarks and cookies of places you’ve been together.  It steadfastly keeps and protects your emails and files.  Your playlists and contacts.  We do not give up on old friends so easily.

And when that day finally comes when the computer has Friended its last friend, Liked its last like and Tweeted its last tweet, we say goodbye with a heavy heart and a satisfaction and gratefulness in remembering all of the experiences we shared together.

Until that day, if you see me doing some work, researching my next vacation or checking the headlines, you can guess what will be right there by my side.

Thanks for reading.

-          Frosty

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