Storytelling

Spock’s Brain and Miss July

One of the laptops in the house went cold a few weeks back, and it has made a significant impact on the dynamics of our family. At the time, it was the fastest computer in the house, and there was competition over using it. This loss made plain how lousy was the so-called family computer.

I made an executive decision to replace the family computer outright. That was its own set of frustrating tasks, and the family, dominated by young Americans that don’t appreciate the shit their parents do for them, were not happy with the time it took to install it just so.

That should have been a clue as to how to proceed about the broken laptop. I should have offered condolences for the loss, recommended a purchase of a new one, and read a magazine until the problem was solved. In fact, I should have gone on a scavenger hunt to find the original Playboy from July, 1975, which first awakened my interest in naked women, and I should have read that magazine. I don’t think I read any of the articles that first time around.

I decided to get that laptop repaired. I found a suitable replacement motherboard on eBay. It turns out crap shipped from China takes a long time to get to mid-Michigan. People here were crabby and complaining about the delay because the children were fighting over the new computer–no good deed goes unpunished, as we used to say in prison (the prison shower, to be exact).

After nearly a month of waiting, the motherboard arrived, and I realized how foolhardy it was to think I could replace the broken one. Laptops are the most ingeniously built things, and every single one of the components, stacked and layered in precise order, are sensitive and delicate. It’s like playing Jenga with a pile of your own testicles–one false move and you’re going to feel the pain.

I took the laptop apart. It wasn’t easy, and I had to use more force than I wanted to use, but I don’t think I did any permanent damage. Maybe I should have taken notes, or downloaded a repair manual, or done it earlier than midnight, but putting the new laptop in the case, and assembling the components back into something that resembles a laptop induced anxiety and near panic. All the itty-bitty screws blended together, and I couldn’t recall from where they had come.

I was reminded of an episode of the original Star Trek series in which Bones tries to put Spock’s brain back in his skull. Bones starts to panic because connecting the nerve fiber was overloading his system, and he was about to throw yet another hissy-fit when someone suggested connecting Spock’s brain so that Spock could tell him what to do next.

I really wanted that laptop to tell me what to connect next as I tried to get the video, sound, and keyboard plugged into the motherboard. In the end, I had six of the itty-bitty screws left over, and the battery does not fit. The memory cover bulges like a pregnant Filipino prostitute; i.e., it just ain’t right.

I am about to plug it in and test it. If nothing works, I’ll cut my losses, forget about the money spent, and search eBay for that copy of Playboy. Maybe I’ll try to find that episode of Star Trek. I guess I’m feeling nostalgic for simpler times.