Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Looking Out the Windows

Most folks might think that I'm making up the following statement, but it's true:  I still write on Microsoft Windows 97.  It is also true that I am still writing some essays and books on a Compaq computer circa. 1997 . . . a computer with two fans, a tiny screen, and a short-circuit which can, at times, remind me of the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, "God's Grandeur", where the poet writes:

It shall flame up
Like shining from shook foil.

Well, you get the picture.  Fortunately, my computer has those two fans to keep things cool, at least long enough for me to blow out the flame and continue writing.  So far I haven't lost any material on this computer . . . it's that dependable in the digital department. And, as my momma said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Speed?  Slow as molasses.
Screen size?  Minuscule.
Drives?  Hard drive and floppy port.

Whenever I want to transfer material from my Compaq 97 and from Windows 97, I plug a floppy reader into one of the three new-fangled laptops we have lying around the house, the ones that will burn up and be landfill fodder in a couple of years.  I transfer the Windows 97 material from floppy to one of these hard-drives.  I file it in a marked folder.  I still send this stuff to editors.  They are still publishing it.  Many of them have no idea what Windows 97 is . . . it was designed before they were born or while they were still cutting their teeth on Playdough.

My wife wants me to get rid of this 97 Compaq computer.  She tells me it looks horrible--hunched there in the corner of my office with hundreds of floppy discs littering the landscape.  I remind her that I hunch in that corner, too . . . and that Windows 97 has been good to me, that I have published over 25 books on that computer, and probably written close to 100 books, unpublished, on its keyboard . . . which still works like a charm, by the way.

I have no intention of divorcing this machine.  We made a covenant back in '97 that we would be faithful to one another . . . that she would keep working for me even if I pressed her buttons for 24-consecutive hours.   And I promised to admire her narrow-waisted screen and her big bottom, all those slots where I could insert a fresh package of floppies purchased over the internet from a discount warehouse that deals in obsolete products. 

Well . . . but you don't want to hear about my love life. Or . . . maybe you do.

I'll get to work on that essay right away.  On Windows 97.  Surely there's an editor out there who will still accept a submission via floppy.  Some old broad, probably, who's as old as I am.

Her computer, no doubt, is hot too!   


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