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Filling in the Blanks

Mike Larkin

I break computers.Not like a breaking wild horses into usable horses type of a thing. I’m not a computer whisperer.I really physically render all of my computers inoperable for extended periods of time.It’s not that I’m some sort of anti-technology Luddite or anything. I’m just cursed.For whatever reason, the powers that be do not want me using computers.In my professional life I have broken an Apple II e (anybody remember those?), an assortment of PCs, two laptops — one of them I broke twice and last week my brand-new, just out of the box Macintosh G4. Oh, I almost forgot, the reason I had that G4 was because I had just broken my G3.Yeah, I’m quite the computer pro.But in all honesty, I don’t think it’s my fault. Sure, the law of averages says I might have more to do with my computer destruction than can be accounted for with just “bad luck.”When I have to deal with computer guys I usually like to break the ice and tell them my computer’s internal coffee cup holder has been acting strangely and show them by popping the CD drive. They love that joke.Then I tell them my evil secret.When computer guys first hear me tell my sad tale about how I break every single computer I work on, they scoff and think I’m exaggerating. They have to see the weird, twisted magic I perform on my machines before they are willing to really believe. And then they give me these weird looks. It’s a wonder I haven’t been captured by a bunch of computer techs and burned at the stake for being a witch,My life has become a series of flickering screens that ultimately snap to black, smoking motherboards and printers that only print every other line. I’m accustomed to massive crashes as I’m finishing the last thing I have to do at the end of the day. I anticipate these meltdowns. They come so frequently that I have to play psychological games with my computers just to avoid problems.Everyone’s natural reaction when their computer freezes up on something important is to break something. Preferably something computer related. I once worked for an editor who would yank his mouse out of the computer and pitch it across the room if his spellchecker was too slow. I am able to contain that rage. When my computer freezes on me I simply look at it and tell it in a very stern voice, “Computer, I am very disappointed in you.” This is not nearly as satisfying as putting your foot through the monitor, but it does let the computer know who’s boss. My only concern with my method is that perhaps this is lowering my computer’s self esteem, leaving it more susceptible to breakdowns?I really want to be friends with my computers. I believe I could have a profitable an fulfilling relationship with them if I wasn’t always suspicious that they were plotting against me. There are obvious benefits.


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