For whom the Dell tolls

blogIMG_2329It was kind of cathartic.

At least that’s what my son-in-law reported.  And after checking it out, I decided to agree.

An old laptop computer, I called him Dell, had been sitting in a tote bag under my built-in planning desk in the kitchen for a few years now.  He was my work computer and he served his time as my right hand man after his purchase back in 2004. But over time, he became slower and slower and started having ‘issues’ as he aged. I was going to have to face the fact that ol’ Dell was becoming obsolete.

When some brand spanking new computers were purchased at my workplace, I inherited a slightly used replacement for Dell.  When I asked my boss what I should do with the old laptop, she told me to “Just get rid of it however you want.”

So I brought Dell home thinking perhaps I could use him just for browsing online or writing a blog post or two since it would be more convenient than our home desktop.  That’s when Dell decided he was good and tired and ready to retire permanently.  Around that time, our desktop started having hiccups too, so hubby and I bit the bullet and purchased our own new laptop Tasha. 

Every once in a while, I’d fire Dell back up but would get all of these strange messages from him and I had no clue what any of it meant.  So back in the bag Dell went, back under the desk, where he slept away in the dark for another year or so.

The last time I tried to coax him back to life, Dell flashed the blue screen of death.  But still, I didn’t dispose of him.  Maybe, I thought, old Dell could be refurbished in some way.  Hey, I’m not the offspring of depression survivors for nothing; my parents taught me to try to reuse everything before you throw it away for good.  So I especially started feeling hopeful that maybe the old laptop could be fixed when Tasha started acting cranky and refusing to allow certain keystrokes on her keyboard.

Now this is where one of our sons-in-law comes into the picture.   He is a computer guru.  It’s his job.  He handles computer problems for an entire department at the university where he’s employed.  He’s one of those IT guys, although I don’t really understand IT and what IT is that IT guys do.   One weekend when he and oldest daughter were visiting, son-in-law examined Tasha for us.  I guess you could call it a house call.

The diagnosis was that Tasha was like many of her brothers and sisters of that model.  Suddenly, her keyboard just wouldn’t work right and there wasn’t any way to fix her infirmity except to add a portable keyboard.  Now that didn’t make Tasha too handy to transport around!

After toting around a laptop, mouse, and a keyboard for over a year, I rebelled and told hubby we needed to just get a new desktop tower since most of my time spent on the computer is writing.  That was our early Christmas present to each other this past fall and I’m happy to report I get along just fine sitting in our front room office at my husband’s big desk with the comfy chair tapping away when the writing urge hits me.  Hey, don’t judge; I already told you I’m old school!

But ol’ Dell was still hanging around under my kitchen desk.  When oldest daughter and son-in-law joined us for Thanksgiving, I decided once and for all to haul Dell out of his hiding place and let son-in-law check him over.  Again the blue screen of death was all that could be coaxed out of the ancient thing.  Son-in-law declared Dell was dead and that he should be disposed of.  There was no hope. 

“So, what should I do with him it?”  I asked IT son-in-law.

“Take it out and shoot it!” he laughingly replied.

“You want to SHOOT it?”  I said.

“Yeah, shoot it,” was his reply.

“No, I mean do you REALLY want to shoot it?”  I asked again.

Then my son-in-law’s eyes lit up.  Really lit up.  I could see the wheels and cogs turning and a plan developing.  And he quickly set the plan into motion.  He texted his two brothers-in-law – our son and middle daughter’s husband – and announced that when they all came to our house for our Christmas celebration, there would be target practice, so come prepared.

Four men got up one morning, dressed warmly, yanked on their boots, loaded up some guns, and went out into the snowy winter weather for some target shooting.  They aimed at 2-liter soda pop bottles, a bulls-eye target taped onto a cardboard box, and…you guessed it…ol’ Dell (minus his battery). 

One of the fellows ran back to the house to ask me if I wanted to come take a shot or two or ten at that worthless old laptop.  I declined because I was in the middle of cooking,  I was in dress clothes, and I didn’t want to take the time to change and bundle up to trudge through the snow.  

Yep, ol’ Dell was put down, taken out of his misery and mine.  I watched his demise from the kitchen window as the girls and I prepared our Christmas dinner.   Our four fellows were like proud hunters showing off their kill when they hauled the remnants of Dell into the cardboard box and brought his remains to the garage to show me.

“Was it fun?”  I wondered out loud.

They all assured me that it certainly was.  And computer doctor/IT son-in-law added, “Man, it was kind of cathartic!”

His job working with computers can be very frustrating, so I immediately understood what he meant when he got to shoot a laptop to smithereens.  And then I realized that even though I didn’t take part in the shooting, just seeing ol’ Dell totally demolished was kind of therapeutic for me as well.   Because every time I looked at that lap top, it made me think of my old job – the one I was forced out of way back in September after almost 13 years. 

Some bitterness at the way it ended still remained with me and I’ve struggled to recover from the shock of losing that job and the profound hurt it caused me.  So annihilating ol’ Dell proved to be a great way to express those feelings and hopefully helped set me on the path to releasing them.

You know what they say?  Out with the old, in with the new.  Now if I can just figure out what the new is going to be, I’ll be on my way.






12 responses

  1. I sure am glad you didn’t use that picture as a “Wordless Wednesday”! I would have had no clue what it was! Cute story…. I, too, work almost entirely at a desktop. Although I have internet on my smart phone and “our” new tablet (which hubby hasn’t touched yet), I still find it so much easier to use a desktop.


    • You’re right! I knew I couldn’t just post this photo without a description of what in the world happened there!! I’m glad to hear someone else is ‘old school’ besides me. 😉 My desktop and I are getting along just fine and having a larger monitor screen than the laptop suits me better anyway. Hubby still uses Tasha the Temperamental (our laptop) but all he does is surf the net, read emails, and read articles online, so she works fine for that. But she better watch it, because people in my family have guns and they know how to use them!! 😀


    • This is what they like to do when they get together (besides having video game competitions). Not only do the guys in my family love target practice, so do the girls!! They may live in the city but I think our family is all country at heart. 🙂


  2. LOL! I have a few obsolete technologies around the house…old kindles, old phones, old laptops, old printers, old cameras. Do you suppose your boys would like further target practice? It would be cathartic for all of us and would give me a lot more storage space under my bedside desk/end table. Happy New Year Cindy! ~Dor


    • Oh, I am sure they would oblige you!! They could throw all of those old electronics into the air and pretend they’re the clay pigeons they keep talking about buying! Actually my IT son–in-law DID shoot a cell phone once. He has the video to prove it. 😀


  3. I just couldn’t imagine what the photo was all about. Your boys sound like Rick who uses old CDs for target practice.
    Ditto! I love my desktop while the laptop languishes. Where else could I type from my chair that swivels and rocks?


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