A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
There is nothing that will convince you that you were born in the wrong century like a computer crash. That is the time when you begin to realize that the rest of the world has passed you by and you are but a Neanderthal wandering around the 21st century without a clue about what is going on.
Granted my old computer was not exactly state of the art (it was powered by a foot treadle just like your grandmother’s 1924 Singer) plus my beloved Word 2010 that served me so well had gone the way of the dodo and was apparently so far out of date that even old Stevie Leacock had refused to use it. When I took it in for its 20-year checkup the technician called the rest of the staff over to look at it and I’m sure I heard ‘stone-age’ several times and more than one cell phone camera click.
To make a long and sad story short I had to buy a new computer, not a top-of-the-line wonder at $1500 a pop, and that’s without the programs, but a refurbished beauty with flashing lights and a drawer in the front where I can shove in an Eric Clapton DVD and listen to him all day.
It all sounds so simple, as am I, but it isn’t, and what should have taken 20 minutes to get up and running took all day and an hour or two this morning. Some writing files that are in there can’t simply be opened in Microsoft latest word program and I’ll be damned if I can figure out why. I’m sure it can be done by some computer geek, but certainly not by a bozo like me.
Computers and I don’t get along. It isn’t their fault nor is it mine, we are a little like Donald Trump, and reality we never seem to be on the same page. I told you years ago (1997 now that I think about it, so you might not remember this) I once wrote 60 or so pages using Word Perfect. When I shut it down for the day, it asked me if I wanted to save my work ‘yes or no’ I clicked ‘no’ and it was gone into the ether or wherever scholarly things go.
I mentioned it to Randy Richmond, the managing editor of the Packet and Times at the time. Randy said it was God’s way of telling me that it wasn’t quite right and needed to be rewritten. A day later I did it again. This time Randy said that it was God’s way of saying I was stupid. He was bang on of course, but he didn’t have to put it so bluntly.
If you are but a child in your 60s or 70s you may not remember the dot-matrix printers, but they chugged along hour after hour printing from boxes of paper with holes along the side. I’m not going to explain the process since I can’t, and you won’t understand it if I could, which I won’t because I don’t either.
I once printed a few chapters of a book and started at 8:30 in the morning. It was still chugging away at dinnertime. I know I shouldn’t have used the word ‘chugging’ since I had already used ‘chugged’ but there is no other way to say it. If they had printed the Bible on dot-matrix, the monks and scribes would just be getting to the Red Sea business. But that was the extent of my print technology.
We have an HP Deskjet 3600 printer now that Mary bought back when the world was young. It wouldn’t work with the new computer. I tried everything – even reading the instructions which I never do – but nothing. It just sat there staring at me. This morning it started to work. The only thing I can think of is the fairies took pity on me, or got sick of hearing me sob, and flitted in during the middle of the night and reinstalled it.
Everything is working now except I still have thousands of files in there that I can’t get at. I can see them, but I don’t know how to move them into Microsoft’s new version of my beloved Word 2010. I am torn between struggling through acres of instructions or calling Bill Gates. I think I will do neither; I am going to get out a box of Kleenex and take a chance with the fairies.