The day my computer died, I understood a drug addict's feeling of quitting "cold turkey"

Have you ever experienced the death of your computer? I have, just last week, and I can assure you it is a traumatic experience. There I was working happily away composing wonderful articles for Starts At Sixty, when suddenly funny things started happening to the colours of pictures, etc. I didn’t consider this to be too important and, after restarting my computer, having re-set the colours to 32 bit, I was able to carry on with what I was doing without any further problems.

However, the next time I used the machine, I had the same problem as before, but now it wouldn’t correct and I had to work with everything that was in colour appearing in a weird sort of solarised effect – very disturbing!

The next time, the problem was even worse – not only were the colours odd, but the very shapes of the pictures were out of kilter too, all elongated horizontally, as if they were trying to demonstrate visually, the effect of speed. I could now only perform the most basic ‘word processor’ tasks and simple emails, and that was when I decide it was time to call in my local expert, a great guy, living up in the hills near Yarram, who is the acknowledged expert in all things computer. Virtually every one in the town makes use of his services, and a computer has never defeated him… Yet!



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The trouble was, he said he needed to keep the machine in order to check it and hopefully cure it, which meant I was suddenly going to be computorless, something I had never experienced before! I had time before taking it to him, to save a lot of my personal stuff to an external hard drive and then off it went, leaving me with virtual tears in my eyes.

I know now how a drug addict feels, when he goes ‘cold turkey’, (I believe that is the term); suddenly the toy that had for years kept me occupied and out of Jacqui’s way for most of the day, was no longer sitting smiling warmly at me, on my desk. There was no work I could do, no games I could play, no contact I could make with friends all over the world, no Facebook and no canned music! It was ghastly.

I even went outside and tried a bit of gardening, usually Jacqui’s domain, and something I always steer clear of; but I was soon told to stop messing about – I was ruining all the work she had done during the past six months! I tried vacuuming the house, washing up, getting dry clothes off the line and realigning the furniture in the living room, but none of it really helped, though I did notice that nothing was done to stop me in these endeavours! In the end, exhausted, I had to go and lie down on the settee and watch a bit of television, something that at least gave me a screen to look at, even though I had little control over its content.

This went on for five days and I was a wreck, until I had the wonderful call I had been waiting for – my beloved computer was ready and waiting for me, the surgery complete, all the rubbish cleared away and a brand new copy of Windows 7 installed, to replace the old XP I had been living with for so long. The click the phone made as I hung up had barely ceased to echo round the living room before I was in the car and on my way, singing happily to myself and waving to people I knew, as I shot past them.

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That was two days ago, and since then I have been loading all my documents, photos, addresses and software back in to the machine and I can once again get on with my life, the drug once more available to me. Who needs chemicals, when a few million gigabytes of digital electronics are there to be absorbed, and how they can be missed when they’re not there!


Has your computer died before? Did you realise just how much you relied on it?