The computer was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of the burial was undertaken by Donn, who collected all the screws in the lid of a jam jar, and bound everything in plastic, and called Best Buy to conduct the actual burial. The old computer was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that the old computer was as dead as a door-nail.

That night I went up to bed, not caring a button for the darkness, and woke when a car backfired. It was 1 a.m. I saw a vision of happier days when the computer was new, arriving fresh and sweet-smelling in its little cardboard box in 2007. I saw Elliot using it to do his homework, it moving with us to Morocco, traveling to Spain and the UK on various trips, crashing and being reborn. I fell asleep again, smiling.

The next night, I’m sure, a car backfiring woke me again. 1 a.m., said my phone when I pushed the button. And again, I saw visions of my computer. I saw it older, with many issues, but still my own computer, with speakers that didn’t work and dead-slow starting times. I saw it crashing and losing lots of my stuff, because I do back up but not as frequently as I should. I lived again that fateful day, saw as in slow motion the coffee cup missing the table and emptying its contents into the very bowels of the computer.

I saw the computer, valiantly holding on though senile, asserting that the date was Jan 1, 2007, telling me it had 116 hours left on its battery, although I knew it only had 2 minutes. I saw myself making a back up as soon as it came back on. And I saw the day Someone (I know who it was but I’m being kind) sat on the cord and it came unplugged, and the computer died, to be revived no more.

I slept again and woke on the 3rd night to an awful vision of myself with no laptop. People sent me emails that I missed. The children pulled rank and did homework on the 2nd laptop we have, while I sat and bit my nails. It was a dark time, filled with gnashing of teeth. “Spirit,” I whispered aloud, “Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life.

In the morning I awoke with my alarm clock, which showed me that all these visions had been in one night! I came downstairs with an idea. A few weeks ago, a friend of Ilsa’s gave us a laptop which, he assured us, was “a really good computer except it needed a new hard drive.” This computer was younger and stronger than my old one. Could it be resurrected?

This is where we swerve from Dickens to Mary Shelley. Donn took the old computer’s brain (hard drive) and removed it and put it in the “new” computer. We installed many things. Each day the computer became better. It learned to play videos. It learned to print. It learned to accept incoming mail from 2 of my 3 email addresses.

I learned that the last back-up I did didn’t save. Why? How? No idea. I did a back up and it didn’t back up. So I’ve lost about 3-6 months worth of stuff.

However, I am a happy woman. (I won’t mention the extreme frustration this computer causes by suddenly skipping the cursor around which really messes up one’s typing). I am having Smoking Bishop, I am becoming a second father to this computer, and my own heart is laughing. It is always said of me, that I know how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that be truly said of us, and all of us!  And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!

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