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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

My laptop is dying; Mom not so much


I was watching some forgettable motivational speaker talking on TV about the death of his mother and I was watching because I aspire to be on TV talking about anything. Gotta be some scratch in that.
He said his 83-year-old mother had been clinging to life a long, long time and he thought she’d never die.
“I went to her bedside and said, ‘Mom, I love you. Your job is done here. It’s okay to let go.’ She took three deep breaths and then she died. I think she just needed to hear it was okay to pass on.”
I heard that and right away called my 83-year-old Mom and said, “Mom, I love you. Your job is done here. It’s okay to let go.”
It was almost six hours before she returned the phone to its cradle.
When I said it was okay to let go, she obediently dropped the phone and just went on with the rest of her day.
Mom has dementia, which despite all its inherent exasperations is not without its charms.
I think my computer has dementia, too. Like Mom, it’s become very forgetful, sleeps for long periods of time and could go at any moment.
Or not.
This may be the last story I ever write on it. It's been hobbling along for about a year with sluggish reactions, screen freezes, and I guess what they’d call in any computer court martial command disobedience. 
Now it’s just about shot. It’s losing passwords, dropping data and failing to load key sites.
So tomorrow I’ll probably slam another grand or so on the credit card for what I’m thinking will be a MacBook Air.
I feel no pending elation over the necessary purchase.
The great writers used to all having abiding affections for their writing devices.
Hemingway did all his writing on a Royal Quiet de Luxe; Steinbeck a Baby Hermes, neither of which allowed these geniuses distracting access to rounds of Candy Crush.
The old typewriters are today in museums where admirers pause to wonder at the magic.
I’ve written all my prose on a succession of four nondescript Apple products, all of which are probably today poisoning some southeast Asian landfill.
That’s the likely fate of this one.
Six and 3/4 years is a long time for a laptop. I paid $1,700.79 for it in ’09 and used it roughly 2,200 days. That’s about 77-cents a day, a real bargain.
What’s odd about the many malfunctions is how when the battery dies — and it does this with whimsical regularity — it reverts back to December 1, 2000.
I pause whenever I see the date.
I wonder should I make it current or just revel in a more carefree time more than 15 years ago.
I imagine they’re working on a time travel app that’ll allow users to do just that.
Dad still had four years to live in 2000 and Mom was fit as a fiddle.
They were both tremendous company, much admired and loved by those who knew them.
Dad died quick in ’04 at the age of 76. It was an aortic embolism. He was fine in the morning, dead by dinner.
It was devastating then, but in hindsight I consider it a Hall of Fame death. Very considerate.
It’s funny how much time I spend thinking about Mom and her mortality. When something is dying, I find myself thinking about her and wondering how long she has to live.
Her memory continues to fray, yet she continues to alternately charm and exasperate with her diminished capacities.
I know others have it far worse, but I wonder about God’s plan.
Why do some endure wasted longevity when much younger others die too soon?
How long will it be before He call her home?
And just what’ll happen if her phone’s off the hook when He does?

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