Computer Catechism Class Completed

Sorry, this is old news now, but I was in the midst of this terrible change of faiths when this was submitted for the February 08 edition of the Star Sentinel. I am happy to say that I now am thoroughly converted.

I wear a long face this week, reluctant to give ground. My wife has deemed that fifteen years with the same pair of bedroom slippers is long enough. A half-roll of shiny silver duct tape to hold the tops and soles together is just too whacky. She insists that I toss them. I know she’s right. We’ll see.

You should know that I bear this old-fashioned notion to buying and keeping: find a tool that works just right, a shirt that fits, a pair of slippers that know the shape of every bump and bunion, and stick with them like faithful friends until there’s nothing left. Then patch and glue, wire and tape the thing together again; and use it a few more years. Toss away nothing lightly or too soon.

And so for me to be planning to abandon a perfectly functional if increasingly anemic four year old PC for a brand new Mac within the month is to break with my vow of ‘til death do we part. What’s more, this plan is a kind of voluntary divorce that disavows everything comfortable and familiar.

After more than twenty years of Windows PC devotion, this impending conversion carries the portent of a change of faith and normal habit. It will be like riding my horse backwards or wearing my slippers on my ears.

I will be for weeks–maybe months–awkward and fumbling in the new Promised Land, grumbling and inefficient, a lost soul unsure of new liturgy, not settled into the dogma of my new way of life. Waking up to a Mac on my desk that first morning will be to step out of the boat and walk on the water. The faithful tell me to keep my eye on the Great Apple.

Soon I’ll wonder how I ever could have put faith in My Computer, have trusted Device Manager or sought direction from the duplicitous Start Button. I see it now, that hallelujah moment when I will hear nothing but the OS-X angels singing pure Truth.

But oh how I dread the purgatory that first must come–confronting the tangled web I’ve woven of cords and cables; facing the fear that perhaps I’ve sold my birthright for a faster CPU; confessing the powerlessness of a novitiate randomly dog-paddling about the shallow end of the learning curve. Fear no evil; this too shall pass.

To assuage my burden of guilt, the old PC, thankfully, won’t go to the green box. It will live upstairs on my wife’s desk, thus avoiding the issue of how to responsibly dispose of the remains of my obsolete hand-me-down, all the while predestined for the landfill.

And here, a confession: I intend to keep a foot in both camps–to be a technological chimera, a PresbyBuddhist, if you will. The new Mac processors will run both Windows and Mac software. So I can go to heaven AND come back as a Golden Retriever!

It’s a difficult decision. I just know I don’t want to go to Dell when I die. And come to think about it, when I take that last walk down those golden streets to my reward as my hard drive finally conks out, I think (don’t tell my wife) I want to be wearing the tattered remnants of my silver slippers.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Fred – I want to talk about the slippers – What is it about wives who plot to take away the articles of clothing that we love?

    I have a few items that I have to hide from her and can only wear when she is away! My red sleeveless cardigan. I have these great steel tipped rubber boots that are perfect in the snow and she keeps putting them in the cellar.

    Is this a control issue?