One day my computer got sick. I sat on the couch and held him on my lap. “Mac,” I said. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Error,” was the only intelligible word he could articulate. Everything else was gibberish.
“Poor little feller.”
He wasn’t functioning well at all. His programs and data were a complete mess. If I could even find the file I was looking for, it was unreadable.
“Oh my. This simply won’t do. How are we going to get all our work done, Mac? I need you performing at full capacity.” Closing him up I stroked his lid. “You just get some rest now.”
I wrapped the little guy in a warm blanket and carried him to the car. The purr of the engine lulled him as we bumbled down Main Street to our destination. Upon arrival I cradled Mac in my arms, pulled opened the glass door and walked in.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” I told the young girl sitting behind the counter. “He’s talking nonsensical blather and he feels rather warm.”
“We’ll take care of him.” As she reached out and pulled my treasure out of his blanket, an uneasy sensation roused within me. All I saw were tattoos, multiple piercings and purple hair.
“Are you Doc?” I had to know.
A small pink bubble emerged from her mouth, expanded to the size of a blimp and popped.
“I’m Doc’s assistant, Zola,” she spoke between chews. “He’s in the middle of a procedure right now. You can leave if you’d like and we’ll give you a call when we have a diagnosis.”
My pulse quickened. “Oh . . . no. I’ll stay, thank you.”
“All right. You can sit if you’d like.”
I really wanted to hold Mac, but resisted the urge. Instead I sat in a folding chair and stared at him lying on a cold table behind purple hair, unable to stop the nervous twitch in my leg.
Finally a man came out. Well, a kid, really. He had long unkempt locks and facial hair, not long enough to be called a beard. He wore a black, wrinkled t-shirt embellished with some cartoon character.
I attempted to squelch my misgivings by reminding myself that some of the best computer minds can be . . . unconventional.
Zola introduced me while handing Mac to Doc.
“Come on back and we’ll take a look.”
I followed Doc into a room strewn with an assortment of computers and computer parts; a veritable computer junkyard. I tried to keep my emotions intact as visions of little Mac being tossed among the scraps slammed into my head.
Doc sat down at a cluttered table with just enough space to set my little guy, flipped open Mac’s lid and woke him up.
I stood behind Doc and unconsciously began to reach toward Mac . . . as if to comfort him, or maybe protect him from the likes of this “kid”. I put my arm down, bit my lip and watched as Doc looked him over, clicking on this and that.
“Well, it looks like he’s got a virus,” Doc leaned back in his chair and twisted his head toward me.
“How bad is it?”
“Well the question is, do you have back up?”
“Back up? Oh, yes. Mac backs up every day to some device my friend set up for me. It’s at home.”
“Great. If you can bring that in, I’ll have him back to his old self in no time.”
* * *
The next day I sat on my couch with Mac on my lap. I was tickled pink as I clicked on programs and files and found everything just as it was before he was infected.
“I was so worried, Mac. You were very sick and I had to relinquish you to some quite unsavory-looking characters. But that Doc, he fixed you right up. He sure is a nice young man. And Zola . . . she took good care of you, too.”
And then an idea struck me. “Hey, let’s make a thank you e-card for Doc and Zola. We’re good at that.”
And so Mac and I got to work creating a heartfelt symbol of our appreciation. We sent it off together and spent the rest of the afternoon surfing the internet, playing games and watching a movie.
I smiled as I laid him down for the night and switched off the light. “What would I do without you, Mac?”
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