Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ghost in the Machine

Though I crow over the fact that we have not had regular broadcast, cable, or satellite TV in our house since we got married in 1997, we're not totally disconnected from the world.

We now have three computers set up, networked, and attached to the Internet. Our latest acquisition -- christened the "kids' computer" came to us from Grandpa, who was getting rid of a box and wondered if we wanted it. We did. It came with a glitch, however: The CD drive, though it worked, popped open at inopportune times. No matter. the DVD drive worked well, so the continual -- and I mean continual -- popping out of the drawer of the other was of minor consequence.

Or so I thought.

It kept popping open. And popping open. You'd be sitting there in the darkness, typing away, or watching a YouTube clip, and, over in the corner of the study, prrrrrrpt, the drive would pop open. It startled me a few times, especially when I was watching clips like "FOR REAL GHOST!" I began feeling like Newman does at the post office.

But, heeding my wife's advice, and the advice of my brother-in-law Carl, I'd begun squirreling away old and defunct computers so, when the need arose, I could cannibalize parts for fix currently-used computers. So today I dug my parts box out from under the stairs and swapped out CD drives. Now the computer sits complacent in its corner, rid of the haunts that made the drawer pop open unbidden. I may sleep nights better knowing the problem is now fixed.

And of course the old CD drive didn't get thrown away; one that pops open at random is better than one that doesn't work at all.

I'm turning into my Dad, that's what it means. But unlike Dad, I'm collecting bits of computer hardware, not buckets full of nails and bolts and other such stuff, though I do have a drawerful of such stuff out in the shed right now, begging to be sorted. It's useful, too. And I add to it constantly, tossing in the parts left over from other projects because who wants to go back to the hardware store to return three unused bolts? Nobody, that's who.

The kids were fascinated by the operation, however. They liked seeing the innards of two computers. That is except for Liam, who refused to come when I explained what I was doing and only wandered in afterward, wanting to see. I told him he'd have to wait until the next breakdown.

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