Computers, as most of us have found out the hard way, can crash anywhere and at any time. The retirement home is no exception. There is no germination period and no warning. No little box opens up and asks you if you have backed everything up. One moment you are busy banging away on the keyboard and next moment you have a blank screen grinning at you. “See if you can fix it, buster!” It is a most stressful situation. So I sat and prayed it was a temporary illness of some sort, then started fiddling with the wires and switches and anything else that moves with no results and finally called the techie. He did a quick examination over the phone, connected my computer to his and from 10 miles away informed me that the whatsit had died.
“Say a quick prayer and head for the phone company and get a new one,” he explained. “Then call me.”
I did as instructed and today he showed up, pushed in a couple of plugs, entered some numbers on the keyboard and held out his hand for a token payment. I’m back in business.
I bought my first computer in 1984 and have never been without once since. But I have never taken the trouble to learn what makes the thing go. And if you watch the techie when he comes, he doesn’t really do much. Back in the 80s the computer man would arrive holding a small screwdriver and pair of pliers. “These are all the tools required to fix anything that goes wrong inside the box,” he explained. I remember thinking that I should ask him if he would teach me, but for some perverse reason I held my tongue. Big mistake!