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I’ve got a brand new, super-duper laptop

I personally improved the economy this week by buying a new computer. At the same time, I am not sure I did all that much for my sanity. In fact, I am typing this article on my old computer because I can’t get my new one to work just right yet.

The decision for buying a new computer has been on my mind for a few years. My old one had slowed down a little, had a few viruses, and I just had the “fever.” Ever had the fever? It’s that same fever that makes one turn into a new car lot, not out of need, but simply out of some kind of mystical, magnetic pull.

I had caught myself doing the due diligence called for when making a major purchase. I had looked at lots of computers. Every time I would go into a store, like a kid pulled to the toy section, I would head for the computer section.

I knew I had to do something when I went into the grocery store and asked the produce lady where the Apples were, and did not mean the little, red, round ones. Apple is one of the major computer manufacturers and makes a computer called the Mac. I was so enamored by the Macs, I started to go to McDonald’s only just so I could order a Big Mac, but made the mistake of asking the server to supersize my megahertz.

It’s not that I know all that much. I really don’t know a gigabyte from a ram. A hard drive, to me, is going through Atlanta during the rush hour. Software is lingerie and I don’t know much about that either. Still, I had the fever.

I don’t do all that much on a computer. Those games that are offered are not an interest to me. Donna Sue is much more the explorer than I am. Basically, I just look at the newspapers online, read and search for facts that might help with a column, communicate by email, do church bulletins and write this weekly column. There is so much more to do, but I am no Christopher Columbus. In other words, I don’t look for new worlds.

That means that I need a simple computer, because I am a simple man. I need one that has an on/off switch that comes with very plain instructions. I would say that I need one that even a child could work, but that would be dismissing the fact that children are growing up knowing a lot more about computers than old people like me.

I had visited the Dell website so much, that I had it listed as a favorite. When I called their sales force, they recognized my voice and said, “Oh, it’s you again.” With an Indian accent, of course.

My main decision was — what kind? Dell, Apple, HP, Acer, Lenovo, Sony, Samsung, and Toshiba are just the beginning. I haven’t even gotten to jujitsu, karate, and taekwondo. Whatever happened to Ford and Chevy? Don’t they make computers, too?

Speaking of Ford and Chevy, I had to make a decision on just how much to spend. It used to be that the top of the line of anything was a “Cadillac.” It was sign of great success to drive a Cadillac. We were always a Ford family. No Cadillacs for us.

Thinking about computers, I had to decide whether I wanted a Cadillac or a Ford or Honda. Actually, that was not the decision I had to make. The decision was more on the order of just when will I decide I can’t afford a Cadillac. Who do I think I am? The government?

I got a nice computer—but don’t listen to the sales people. You knew that didn’t you.

For instance, I had specifically asked for all the bells and whistles to be already installed.

“Mr. Roberts, all you will have to do is take the computer out of the box and turn it on,” she said. “Then enjoy.”

That sounded exactly what I was looking for: a brand new super duper computer with lots of speed and easy to operate at the same time. I bought the computer and a few extras, which I always wonder about.

For instance, you buy a car, a washing machine, a refrigerator, a computer, anything. One of the first questions is whether or not to buy a warranty. It’s almost as if you make a major purchase and, then you have to pay extra to guarantee it will last more than 15 minutes.

So, I had to buy a warranty for the computer hardware. That’s the hammer, the nails and the lumber. Soon after that question, you are asked if you would like to buy a contract for the software. What’s that all about? Simply speaking, that’s for the stuff that enables the computer to work—the innards.

The computer happens to be “on sale” for $699, but if you want it to work and last for any amount of time, add another $699. Confusing? Sure, but don’t try to figure it out. Your human computer brain will explode.

I get my package and open it up. Take out the computer and turn it on just like the nice salesperson said.

I think I locked it up in record time. After only five minutes, it asked me for a password that did not exist. I was exasperated and began to say words not conducive to the Christian walk. I’ll end with a joke you may have heard.

“A preacher was making his rounds on a bicycle, when he came upon a little boy trying to sell a lawn mower. ‘How much do you want for the mower?’ asked the preacher.

‘I just want enough money to go out and buy me a bicycle,’ said the little boy.

After a moment of consideration, the preacher asked, ‘Will you take my bike in trade for it?’

The little boy asked if he could try it out first, and after riding the bike around a little while, said ‘Mister, you’ve got yourself a deal.’

The preacher took the mower and began to crank it. He pulled on the rope a few times with no response from the mower. The preacher called the little boy over and said, ‘I can’t get this mower to start.’

The little boy said, ‘That’s because you have to cuss at it to get it started.’

The preacher said, I can’t cuss. It’s been so long since I became a Christian that I don’t even remember how to cuss.’

The little boy looked at him happily and said, ‘You just keep pulling on that rope. It’ll come back to ya.’”

It’s come back to me!