I bought a laptop this past weekend so I can work on my writing in my comfy clothes on the couch at home.  I’ve never owned a laptop.  I’ve been borrowing my wife’s and she has suggested that I might want one of my own.

For an old guy, I consider myself fairly familiar with computer stuff.  My buddy, Dave, taught me to use DOS a hundred years ago.  I’ve forgotten anything he taught me, but it makes me feel superior to tell you this.  I can defrag, clean the registry and get rid of cookies.  Tech guys have complimented me on the fact that I even know what these terms mean.  I actually have no idea.

The 20-something sales guy at the store was trying to hide his true thoughts, I’m sure.

“I’d like to buy a laptop.”

“We have a wheelchair model over here with large keys that might interest you.”

I wondered if he knew how to oil down a good leather glove, put a baseball in it, and wrap it with big fat rubber bands to set the pocket.  I doubted it.

Truth is computers can frustrate the stew out of me.  The set up was supposed to be easy.  The guy at the store said so.  The little piece of paper inside the box said, “Easy as 1, 2, 3.”  Three hours later I contemplated setting my new laptop on fire.

For one thing, I don’t want my stuff on the Cloud.  I don’t need to operate anything across multiple devices and platforms, switching seamlessly anywhere, anytime I want.  I sit on the couch in my flannel pants and write stories in my living room.  I suppose if I had a large staff with offices in Paris, Hong Kong, and Melbourne this might be helpful.  I’ll never know.

Then, there are the privacy settings.  MS wants to know if I want them to collect all my data so that they can enhance my experience, tailor the advertising to my interest, and order my underwear for me.  My wife and I were talking about a certain medical procedure while I worked through this.  Just chatting on the couch, right?  Pretty soon an ad shows up with information about colonoscopies.  I turned the microphone off.

I tried to set up my email.  MS kept telling me that I didn’t want Gmail or anything Google.  If I switched from Edge my life as I know it would end and I would be forced live out my remaining years in a nursing home by a man named Guido.  It was about at this moment that I lost it.

What most of us want is for life to be simple.  Sitting on the front porch.  Holding grandkids in your lap.  Yelling at the Falcons who couldn’t hold on to a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl.  That one still hurts.  The last thing I need is the Big Computer Guy at MS telling me what I can and cannot do.

Old guys should probably just stay away from technology.  I’m trying to manage my blood pressure as it is.  Fried fish and fried hush puppies and fried potatoes in Crisco lard are healthier for me than computers.  I look under the hood of a car and curse the guy who put that computer in there.

Well, I have to write.  I pick up my notepad.  The one with white paper and blue lines on it.  It’s wireless.  It’s simple.  The only thing I have to boot up is my brain.  If I ever figure it out, I’ll copy and paste to the laptop later.

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