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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Gray Matters - Admissions of an almost addict

Monday, March 17, 2008

(Photo)
Here am I, someone who once thought she could only write with pen in hand, and who considered herself a total novice with all things electronic. Then my computer "went down." When you're writing the old fashioned way and your pen goes dry, you just pick up another pen, but that's not how it works anymore. What a surprise to find out how much I had come to rely on this magic machine!

Fortunately, I have access to a top-drawer area computer service. It's probably not proper to put a commercial in my column, so I will just tell you that these kind, savvy, chaps promptly picked up my ailing device. The first thing they did was to retrieve my last Gray Matter column and forward it to this newspaper. Then they got busy and found all of the stuff tucked away in my computer's esoteric innards, so none of it was lost. Now they've brought it back, completely restored, and working better than it did before its collapse.

Copies of important letters I had written my family are all here. I'd been working on an account of the heirlooms, furniture and other things their dad and I had acquired over the years to give to my kids. It and the descriptions of major trips and family events are all accounted for. The poems I have put together these last years are preserved.

Until this interruption I had no idea how dependent I had become. In fact, if anyone had asked me I would have denied that dependence. I have to admit the experience has given me a bit of an insight into what an addiction must be like.

I battle insomnia now and then -- they tell me that is pretty common with us oldsters. Instead of taking medications, I often turned to the keyboard and played solitaire or SU DO KU to help me go to sleep. At other times, when my eyes were weary from reading, I would re-type and edit accounts of events which I'd tucked away long ago -- accounts that would never have been resurrected had it not been for this keyboard. Though I hate to say it, I'm afraid it does have me totally spoiled by pointing out inadvertent errors I make along the way. I don't know whether computers used by students in classrooms have this feature or not, but I don't think they should. After all, if a mechanism picks up a student's mistakes and suggests corrections as he goes along, how will he ever develop the skills required to do it right in the first place?

Enough of my ramblings, but I'm sure you are beginning to see what I mean by dependence. If I weren't so opposed to the use of clichés I expect this would be the ideal place for that time-worn one about old dogs and new tricks, only it would have to be used in reverse because this "old dog" has certainly been learning some "new tricks" and has become almost addicted to them.

anymore. What a surprise to find out how much I had come to rely on this magic machine!

Fortunately, I have access to a top-drawer area computer service. It's probably not proper to put a commercial in my column, so I will just tell you that these kind, savvy, chaps promptly picked up my ailing device. The first thing they did was to retrieve my last Gray Matter column and forward it to this newspaper. Then they got busy and found all of the stuff tucked away in my computer's esoteric innards, so none of it was lost. Now they've brought it back, completely restored, and working better than it did before its collapse.

Copies of important letters I had written my family are all here. I'd been working on an account of the heirlooms, furniture and other things their dad and I had acquired over the years to give to my kids. It and the descriptions of major trips and family events are all accounted for. The poems I have put together these last years are preserved.

Until this interruption I had no idea how dependent I had become. In fact, if anyone had asked me I would have denied that dependence. I have to admit the experience has given me a bit of an insight into what an addiction must be like.

I battle insomnia now and then -- they tell me that is pretty common with us oldsters. Instead of taking medications, I often turned to the keyboard and played solitaire or SU DO KU to help me go to sleep. At other times, when my eyes were weary from reading, I would re-type and edit accounts of events which I'd tucked away long ago -- accounts that would never have been resurrected had it not been for this keyboard. Though I hate to say it, I'm afraid it does have me totally spoiled by pointing out inadvertent errors I make along the way. I don't know whether computers used by students in classrooms have this feature or not, but I don't think they should. After all, if a mechanism picks up a student's mistakes and suggests corrections as he goes along, how will he ever develop the skills required to do it right in the first place?

Enough of my ramblings, but I'm sure you are beginning to see what I mean by dependence. If I weren't so opposed to the use of clichés I expect this would be the ideal place for that time-worn one about old dogs and new tricks, only it would have to be used in reverse because this "old dog" has certainly been learning some "new tricks" and has become almost addicted to them.