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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Help (02/20/06)

TITLE: My Computer Problem
By Lynda Lee Schab


My inbox was empty. I wished Dana would drag her lazy self out of bed and email me. I was dying to find out how her date had gone the night before!

Meanwhile, I tried my friend, Marcy. I sent off an email and waited for several minutes. No response.

I surfed over to a few of my favorite message boards and was disappointed to find none of my friends online. Didn't they know I was in the mood to chat?

My stomach growled and I reached for the bag of chips, still open on my desk from the night before. I blew on my keyboard to clear a month's worth of built-up crumbs. As I munched on stale chips, I checked the weather forecast, caught up on the latest Hollywood gossip, and shopped for jeans, new bedding, and a belated birthday gift for my sister.

Two hours and no message later, my impatience was rising at the same rate as my credit card balance. I clicked over to a gaming site to play Internet Solitaire while I waited.

I was on my way to winning when the doorbell rang. Annoyed to have my game interrupted, I almost didn't answer. But, grudgingly, I stood, stretched, and trudged to the door.

I was surprised to find my mother, my sisters Ann and Cheryl, and Ann’s three-year-old son, Dawson, standing on my stoop.

“Hey, Kris, can we come in?” Ann asked. Before I could answer, all four of them whisked past me.

“Sure,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“We want to talk to you about something,” Cheryl said. Her eyes rested on the computer. “Do you mind if I turn this off?” As she reached for the power button, my email light flashed.

“Nooooooo!” I shouted. I lunged at Cheryl and shoved her hand away from the computer. She looked at me, wide-eyed, and I cleared my throat. “I just need to check this message,” I mumbled. I sank into my computer chair, swiveled around and retrieved my message. It was from Dana, and I typed a response, acutely aware of my guests’ silence. I imagined there were plenty of looks and hand motions being exchanged behind my back.

“Kris, come on. We need to talk,” Ann said.

Reluctantly, I turned around with a heavy sigh. “I’m busy, guys. Can’t this wait?”

“You don’t seem busy to me,” my mother noted. “How busy can you be in your bathrobe and slippers?”

“I have a lot to do.” I was getting defensive. What did these people want? I glanced at the computer screen and saw my mail light flashing again.

“Don’t even think about it,” Ann spat. Before I knew what was happening, she reached over and turned off my computer.

“Geesh, Ann! You didn’t have to turn it off!”

“I’m just going to come out and say this,” she said. “You need help. You’re on that computer twenty-four-seven and it’s not healthy.”

“What is this? Some sort of intervention?” I asked, incredulous.

“You never even call us anymore. You stay holed up here, just you and that dumb computer. You’re becoming a hermit, Kris. You probably don’t even read your Bible anymore,” Cheryl challenged.

“Of course I do!” I glanced sideways at the end table where I kept my Bible. There was my nephew, Dawson, scribbling in the half-inch of dust that had settled on the cover. My face heating up, I looked back at Cheryl, who raised her eyebrows, in an “I told you” sort of way.

“We’re taking it away, and that’s final,” said Ann. “Trust me. It’s for your own good.”

Cheryl and my mother held my arms while Ann unhooked the computer. I begged them to let me check my messages one last time!

My hysterical cries followed Ann as she hauled my beloved computer away...


I woke up to a mascara-stained pillow. I took a deep breath; it had only been a dream…

My computer was still there, blue light blinking in the darkness. I made my way over, fighting the familiar urge to check for messages. With a trembling hand, I reached down and turned off the power.

At the moment, another "message light" was blinking. I walked over, retrieved my Bible from the end table and blew off the dust.

My "inbox" was filled with messages from God. I knew He was waiting patiently for my response. I sank to my knees in reply, thankful that He was always in the mood to chat.

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This article has been read 1111 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kristopher Cox02/28/06
You've hit on a very true and common addiction, (as I'm typing this at midnight). Anything that gets in the way of God is a sin, such as typing comments to stories late at night instead of listening to comments from God. (Ouch! My heart was just pricked.) Thank you for the reminder. I'm going to check on my E-mails from God now. :>)
Debbie Sickler03/02/06
What a nightmare! No computer?! What would we all do with ourselves?! hehehe

I think all of us can relate to this one! :o)
Jessica Schmit03/02/06
This is such an important article. I think anyone can relate to this piece. No one really speaks about the addiction to the computer/e-mails etc...I loved how you wrote this article. I could compeltely relate to your character. Great job!
James Clem 03/02/06
"... And Deliver me from e-mail"
Dara Sorensen03/02/06
"I blew on my keyboard to clear a month's worth of built-up crumbs." Sadly, it sounds like my computer!

Anyway, I believe this hits many of us. I know I can sometimes become a little too addicted to being online when there are other things that need to be done.

Great piece that I think everyone can relate to at some point or another!
Pat Guy 03/02/06
Boy! You had me going when they took away her computer! I thought NO WAY! :(

Once again, a fantastic job about a poignant message. One I personally DON'T relate to, but I'm sure there are some who will. Absolutely loved the last lines. Great job!

Jan Ackerson 03/02/06
Very, very good! I felt a definite twinge of anxiety when they took her computer away--really could relate. Thanks for the gentle nudge.
Joanne Malley03/02/06
I'm sure this hits home for many! A reminder I need every now and then. Enjoyed your well-written story as usual. :) Jo
Suzanne R03/04/06
Too close to the truth for my liking......

Great writing, just the same - with a real punch!
Marilyn Schnepp 03/04/06
Great story; however, I'm going to disagree with everybody else a little; The computer has brought me closer go God, comforted me by FW stories of like Christians & has made me weep or laugh, or go to my Bible to check out the story myself - and perhaps I do stay on too long reading ...but it sure beats the Violence, Sex and infidelities on TV!
Yes, I can relate...but it has helped me cope, helped my walk with God, and encouraged my faith! Nice job!
Shari Armstrong 03/04/06
That was great -and a little scarry! lol - well done! :)
Maxx .03/05/06
Best of both worlds ... Bible.com, baby! ;-) Nice story, the only thing that sank it for me was that it turned out to be a dream. Could have had a stronger if the Mom had held up the Bible and said "Look, you've got messages here, too." Or something like that. But great lesson as always, and, of course, polished writing. Congrats!
Edy T Johnson 03/05/06
This is a good reminder about balance. I agree with Marilyn about all the blessings that come with the computer. It is a wonderful communication tool, and we are all in the communicating business, as writers and as Christians. Thankfully, we can heed warnings, such as this story, so we don't become workaholics and miss Jesus invitation to "Come away and rest awhile." Great writing---thanks!