john January 20th, 2009
I bought this Dell in 2000 and it’s been remarkably reliable–my only complaint is that the A: drive never worked, but I had the computer for a full year before I needed it and found that it didn’t. Even that I could understand, since there was a strong clue why: I just turned the computer off, lifted the A: drive’s flap with a butterknife, and used a pair of tweezers to pull out several long flat sheets of dust.
So I needed the drive once and didn’t need it again, and the computer remained a workhorse even after my darkest days when I was so stressed out and depressed that I’d sleep till afternoon, spend the evenings thinking about killing myself, and stay awake overnight playing Starcraft in order to stop thinking about killing myself. Throughout this entire time I was bitter and vicious, losing friends right and left, and would become shockingly violent at the first thing that went wrong.
I can’t remember what trivial thing it was that set me off (except that it was just after the death of a relative I didn’t even know very well) but one day I kicked the tower, rocking it back into the wall and gouging the sheetrock. The tower settled back down with the beige plastic busted and the metal frame behind it bent into roughly the shape of the front of a size 13 shoe. Even after that the drives all worked (except for the A: drive, which had never worked) and I never had any problems with the computer that I didn’t cause myself (occasionally through temper but–surprisingly–more often through various proofs of the adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing).
I’ve stuck with this Dell, though, partly to prevent myself from getting hooked on newer games (whether that’s likely or not, this computer won’t play them) and partly to remind myself that things are going rather well now, that I’ve made a number of improvements, and that chances are very good that the worst part of my life is over.
I’ve intended to ride this computer till, as Bob Dylan says, the wheels fall off and burn. So it’s with some alarm that I turned it on tonight and was met with a sound much like a cell phone rattling across a table. This sound settled into a much slower clunky rattling, and finally calmed into the more typical “jet flyby” of the fans that I’ve become accustomed to over the last few years. Perhaps the wheels will fall off and burn sooner than I thought. I was looking forward to using the computer for another five years or so.