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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Leave My Computer Alone

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
I often wonder how we ever accomplished any business in the years before computers. It seems to me that a great deal of our entire daily existence is totally dependent upon one operating system or another. From the programmed coffee maker in the morning to the television set at night, when computers and their inner workings go bad, our lives seem to be placed into levels of stress not achieved twenty five years ago.

Iím not certain all of the progress we have made is necessarily for the good.

I donít know about you, but Iíd like everyone in my family to leave my computer alone, donít mess with it, donít change anything, donít try to improve itÖ.just let it be. I like the way I have it set up and know how to use it for the things I need. If I want any changes, Iíll ask for them, otherwise just donít do anything to it. As far as Iím concerned these things are fragile. There is nothing like typing a letter, report or a column that you are very proud of and then have it disappear into the far reaches of the universe never to be seen again. You have no idea what you did to cause this catastrophic event to occur and you have no idea how to resurrect what you have lost. I get the same feeling when I get a letter from the IRS.

Last weekend Iím sitting at my desk at home, happily working away, when I keep getting some type of upgrade notice from Microsoft. I didnít want the upgrade and foolishly clicked on the delete button. Of course this not only deleted the upgrade, but apparently every thing else associated with it including all of my previous operating files. After several attempts to start over I go to the Microsoft website and learn how to download the trial version of the software that I have erased. This is where the hard part comes in. To download requires me to type in a 35 character password or product key. Unfortunately for me the 8ís and the Bís look the same so I have to retype and retype until I get it correct. I also have a problem with the 0ís and the Oís Ö.but thatís another story. Once you get the code typed in just right, then you have to wait for several very long (I mean long) minutes for the program to download. Meanwhile youíre afraid to leave and answer the phone or go to the bathroom in fear that while youíre gone, some secret important message will appear telling you to do something that will get you further along. Failing to do whatever it says may cause irreparable harm and perhaps increase global warming. In fact Iím certain that anything you do wrong will increase global warming.

I have no clue as to whether or not Iím actually making any progress or not. The little hourglass doesnít give me any indication of how much progress (if any) Iíve made or how much further I have to go. Iím determined to do this myself and not call anyone (much less my children) for help. This has now become a personal point of pride with me. Kind of like going back to the health club for the first time in five years, you always think you can still bench press 200 pounds, no matter how old you are.

Finally a little note appears and tells me that it is extracting files. Panic sets into my brain. To me extraction means the same as removing, I think Iím supposed to be adding programs and files, not removing or as they sayÖextracting anything. But the clock is ticking and there is activity so I best sit and wait in agonizing silence while it does whatever is trying to do. I should not have had that last cup of coffee.

Finally it says that it is finished, but nothing appears on my big computer. Instead it has downloaded everything to my laptop since I had it on as well to help me in my quest for reinstatement. Once again a wave of defeat sweeps over me and Iím tempted to call one of my sons and ask for assistance. I shut down the laptop and go back to the big unit and try once more, holding my breath and praying that somehow, some way it will all work out and everything will be back as it was. Iím not certain God acts on computer repair prayer requests, and tend to think He treats them like requests from football coaches. Someone has to win and someone has to lose, so He just lets things work themselves out on their own.

However, hallelujahÖ.Iím saved ...everything is back and working Öfor the moment anyway. I have no idea if I did the right thing or if God took pity on me and fixed it for me. I think the prayers helped, I certainly canít see that they hurt anything.

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America - December 9, 2009 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

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