My computer has died and the local death panel says it's time to say goodbye. If all the thing was good for was reading about the apocalypse I wouldn't mind, but my work (backed-up, I'm glad to report) depends on it. Two days have already been lost on trying to fix it myself, then finally ambulancing it the 35 miles to the nearest Mac repair place, where, after an hour waiting outside the intensive care unit, I knew the news was going to be bad the second the tech walked out.
He reminded me of one of those Air Force doctors in one of those old-fashioned surgical gowns they would wear when they gave autopsies to aliens whose flying saucers had spun out of control and crashed into Burbank on The Outer Limits. It had been rough in there. Just when you get to the point in your career where you figure you've seen it all, a case bad enough to get you right here has to wind up on the slab. He couldn't look me in the eye while he struck one match after another, ruining them all until he crumpled the empty matchbook up and threw it at the wall, too shook up to remember that the only woman he had ever fallen in love with at first sight had written the number of the payphone on the wall down the hall from the room she shared with Fran, who claimed to be the hat check girl at Lindy's, but what kind of a hat check worked all night? Now their lives together would never amount to more than two champagne cocktails for her and a couple or three Four Roses and Pabst boilermakers for him. I had to light him with the steady flame from my gold Dunhill trench lighter, an engraved memento from the boys at my rowing club at Pinckney — everybody got one before we shipped back out for the big show in the Argonne — and as he glowered at the flame I could see him wondering where his next drink was going to come from. He had the look in his eye of a man on the brink of a switch to morphine. That alien sausage patty in there sure wasn't going to need it. Waste not, want not.
As it was, though, the tech was just wearing his uniform black polo shirt. He was about 22.
"Nice dog," he said.
Roo looked at him.
"What's his name?"
"She's a girl. Her name is Roo."
"I had a Labrador just like that when I was growing up," he said.
"She's a Golden," I said.
"Great dogs," he said. "Golden Labradors."
"The best. Well, what's the diagnosis for the computer?" I asked.
"Mine was named Duke," he said.
"Unusual name for a dog," I said.
"Yeah. Old Duke. What's his name?"
If an orderly had been rolling a cart full of scalpels down the hall to the autoclave, I would in all likelihood have selected one sharp enough to excise the information about my computer from him.
"That's Saint Augustine, but I just call him Teeny for short," I said
He got down and scratched Roo with the tip of one fingernail right on the hardest part of the top of her skull. To a dog, this is the equivalent of having your cheeks pinched by that great-grand uncle who drinks from a paper bag and never shuts up about the old neighborhood.
"Listen, buddy, you're killing me here. Did you figure out what's wrong with that computer?"
"Oh, yeah," he said. "Yeah. We found out."
It wasn't good. It's not beyond repair, but fixing it would cost three times what it's worth. So, If you've got an older Mac sitting around that you don't use any more — pretty much has to be a laptop, as the generator has quit, too, and we'll be running low on electricity when we leave Maine soon and will need something with a battery — sell it thisaway. I'll pay whatever you can get for one on a site like Gazelle.com. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Up to you - this is what a post from the iPhone looks like...