Thursday, September 05, 2013

My Back-To-School Memory: On my first computer

I've always envied people who refuse to become attached to things. They throw out that stray pink sock without hesitation. They know that if they haven't worn that Chicago Bulls 1993 champion shirt since, well, 1993, it's probably time to part with it. They even slam those two-year-old issues of People magazine in the recycling bin with conviction. It's as if they're content with just the shirt on their back and one pair of white tennis shoes. Not me. I never have been. The scarier part is, I don't think I ever could be. Or want to be?

I may strike you as a minimalist, with only a bed on which to rest my weary head and a lamp to light my path. But look at my bedroom, and you'd be surprised. In addition to that bed and lamp, I have shorts from 1997, a collection of useless trinkets from my trip to Harrah's Casino almost a decade ago and even a box of Entertainment Weekly magazines from the mid-'90s I purchased on eBay; they're still under my bed. It all reminded me of the past. And, well, nothing reminds me more of the past than my first computer.

We met on a warm July afternoon in 1998. As I ran my hand over the smooth keyboard and made the mouse dance across the screen, I fell in love. I knew we had a deep connection. It was love at first click. Old Faithful (the computer, that is) promised to see me through all my computing needs and desires. He never let me down. He was there on my first day of college, ready and willing to be my scribe. From my English 104 papers to my 12-page explorations of the history of journalism to my exposés as a campus reporter. He alerted me of every comma splice and misspelling. Not that there were many of those, naturally. He was there for me after my father died. At a time when I somehow couldn't bring myself to write in my journal, my counselor had me complete writing assignments on the computer. Seeing my feelings on the screen put so many emotions into perspective. It felt as though the emotions traveled from deep in my heart, down my arms and through my fingers and settled on the computer screen. I felt relief for the first time.
Old Faithful was even there for me when I needed relaxation and comic relief. He made me smile as I listened to song samples on Amazon and placed my items in the shopping cart to buy with gift cards I'd saved for six months. He made my jaw drop when I learned of Britney and Justin's breakup in 2002 and her pregnancies in 2005 and 2006. And he made me squeal with delight as I relived my childhood through eBay. Anyone remember The Hugga Bunch?

My father always used to compare our brains to a computer hard drive. Whenever he had to remember something, he'd say, "Let me store it in my hard drive.” And whenever he couldn't remember something, he'd give a little chuckle and say, "Time to clean out my hard drive.” So when Old Faithful wasn't, well, faithful anymore, I thought it was the end of the world. I wasn't just throwing away a useless piece of technology. I was putting to rest the memories tucked away in that hard drive. I encourage you to make sure you never forget to carefully store your memories -- the good, the bad and even the ugly -- on your personal hard drive. Take comfort in knowing you'll always be able to access them. You never know when you'll need a good laugh or a long cry.

[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. I'm trying to even remember my first computer. You'd think that something so important to me would be something I'd remember better!

  2. I think we got our first computer in 1998, it was certainly a windows 95 computer. It was a Christmas present too that I had no idea about and I remember my first main school essay I did was a trip around space as we were learning about the planets in high school. Although I remember the really early computers my first school had which barely did anything but I remember when we had our first go on them and we all went up one by one to type in our names. Those were the days!


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