I used to be afraid of computers. The first one we ever owned lived in our den, which was actually a converted garage.
It was cold in the garage-den. How cold was it? During one typical Missouri winter, we stored our perishables in there when the refrigerator died. The computer was happy there.
There was a desk at one end, where my mid-life-seminarian spouse sat working out his academic salvation. He had a thesis typing and resume writing business and he wanted me to type papers. Papers handed over to us scrawled on yellow legal pads splattered with remnants of coffee and scrambled eggs victoriously dropped off at our house by his partners in clerical-collar crime. He wanted me to decipher these alleged papers that looked as if they’d been written by a troll with three fingers and one eye. Papers that made as much sense to me as hieroglyphics and had certainly never sat on the same cognitive plane as any English language dictionary. I was doomed.
I vaguely remember the day those many years ago when my spouse-man brought Moby Dick home; manhandling its bulky mass through the front door of our little house. It seemed gargantuan. Truly this machine was the wooly mammoth of the current micro, minimalist, razor thin, under your skin, it would fit in your nose computing world. He wanted me to come to terms with the beast. He wanted me to touch it, to turn it on and, God help me – use it.
My mouth dropped and I followed him slowly and watched him enter the family room. He had bought it off a “friend” from school (cursed den of theist hoodlums). His face was all lit up as if someone had given him the best birthday present he’d ever had and he couldn’t wait to get it home. He talked non-stop from the moment he stepped into the house until he’d plugged it in and started putting Godzilla through its paces. I stood in the doorway to the den. The beast now resided there.
Eventually I got up the nerve to sit down at the desk in front of the “word processing system.” I believed that there was a strong likelihood that this thing had inherent intelligence. It had memory didn’t it!? I believed that once it was on it had the ability to take whatever it wanted from its immediate surroundings, even sucking the very thoughts and energy from any unwitting human brain. I was terrified. I believed that one day it would control me. I would no longer have any private domain of my own and my behavior would be forever altered by its presence. I would serve it and sit in front of it day after day, typing, typing, typing.
I don’t really remember what happened to our electronic Godzilla. Perhaps Mothra swept it away. Its remains are probably NOT fossilizing but lying somewhere between Springfield, Missouri and Daytona Beach, Florida. I have emerged from my fear to dwell happily in the land of geekdom. HUZZAH!! HUZZAH! There are several working computers within my humble abode now. My household is online, networked, wireless, flat-screened, tableted, IPOD’d and IPhone’d to our heart’s collective delight.