My friends and loved ones gathered around me. I could tell they were gravely concerned. Their looks were changing between love and pity. Concern and frustration. They whispered about my obsession with doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Insanity was mentioned.
I knew the subject of this loving confrontation. I knew what they would say. I had said it quietly to myself so many times. I had to quit, to give it up, to begin my life anew. But I couldn’t. Just couldn’t. It was a thirty year journey that would end. It was a thirty year love affair with an inanimate object. I thought of the pain of withdrawal. The pain of losing my “friend” and constant companion.
Looking into my daughter’s eyes was the hardest part. There was pain in her eyes, but also love and understanding. “We’re all here for you, daddy”, she said.
My wife looked on a bit bewildered. Never acknowledging that there even was a problem, but knowing at some level that things weren’t right, that not everybody lived their lives like this.
My always supportive friend, Andy and his wife Paula had initiated this intervention. He was a close friend, but objective enough to say what the family couldn’t face up to. “I’ll be there for you buddy. Whatever you need, I’ll walk you through it”, he said. His wife Paula grasped my shoulders and looked into my eyes. “Alan,” she said, “face up to it, accept it, you’re an idiot!” Her deep blue nordic eyes said “idiot” but I read compassion in them, carefully disguised as contempt.
My daughter stepped forward and put her arms around me. Out of this loving embrace it appeared in front of me. It’s glowing screen tempting me- teasing me- mocking me. “Watch this, daddy,” she said. Before my eyes appeared antic cartoon birds flying through the air squawking as they exploded in a cloud of feathers before decimating an evil pig. Then she clicked to another “app” as she called it. Then another and another at blinding speeds. I tore it from her grasp, my heart pounding, begging her to stop! “You can’t do that, honey, it will crash the device!” There will be errors. It takes time! Time! Time!” I fell into a chair sobbing. She sat down next to me and placed something onto the top of my lap. She slowly opened the lid. I asked her what she was doing. “I’m booting up my laptop, daddy.”
“Oh,” I said. I began to get up from the chair. “Where are you going,” she asked.
“To wash the car. It should be done booting by the time I get back.”
“Silly daddy,” she smiled, “It’s already done. And look!”
With those words she started opening programs. There was iPhoto with all my thousands of pictures, and iMovie with my videos, and Garage Band and my e-mail and more!
“Stop,” I shouted, “it will lock up! It will seize and crash and befuddle the CPU and confuse and overwrite the registry and bring in viruses and all manner of doom and gloom. Stop! For the love of God, stop!” I curled myself into the corner of the chair and was told later that I kept muttering, “Registry Error! Registry Error! Registry Error!”
They stood around me knowing that this too would pass. My wife held my hand, my friend Andy checked soccer stats on his iPhone and Paula muttered, “idiot.”
I gathered my wits and knew what I had to do. A thirty year love-hate relationship was ending. I walked to my PC and pulled the plug. It would be hard to learn something new but my MacBook held great promise. My daughter had made the switch and she cried freedom! My friends had made the switch and never gave a thought to whether their programs worked or conflicted, stalled or crashed. Their programs just work and so they too can work, or play. They don’t have to download programs to fix their programs to find their programs to tell them what programs they have that don’t like their other programs. They don’t have to watch infomercials about programs to “speed up” or “clean up” or fix up” their Apple product because they don’t need to.
It’s six months since the day that I euthanized my PC.
Of course the above is what I hope is a humorous take on my switch. But it comes from a kernel of truth. Those people did keep asking why I put up with my PC. Well, it was fear. Just like the addict coming off of a drug fears the change in his life when his “friend” is gone, so do PC users fear the unknown. I was also concerned about cost. Apple costs more than PC. But that’s wrong. In the long run Apple is cheaper. Do the math kids. They last a long time. You don’t have to buy more software to keep your software working, you don’t need to replace them every four years, and you don’t have to buy so many antacids!
Thank you reading this little essay. You honor me by sharing your time.
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