Sniff! She died. She’s been with me these last five years, and she’d been around a good few years before we met. She was like a female character out of a Springsteen lyric, kinda worn and raggedy, but she stuck with me through thick and thin. I don’t know how many films or repeats of TV series I’ve watched with her, or how many words I wrote with her, but I do know the paint was gone from most of her keys at the end…I did explain it was my old laptop that died, didn’t I?
Yes, my venerable IBM Thinkpad T42, that I bought for ‘spares or repair’ off Ebay, early in 2009, for £30 and basically tweaked a bit from a box of old parts I had, has finally gone tits-up. Kicked the bucket. Hopped the twig. Deceased. Deid*. It went back and forth to France with me numerous times, to the Philippines, twice, to Thailand, and even sailed round Scotland with me on my sailing-boat ‘Misty’, when I crossed that off my own bucket list. (I have to admit she was never quite the same after that. I think she had a near-cardiac when my son Ethan started the motor with the main switch off; well, that was when he cooked the alternator anyway. But that is another yarn, and no I will not be letting him forget it.) Lately she had been a bit slow about getting going in the mornings, a feeling I sympathised with, and Firefox had been crashing her on a daily basis, but now her screen’s just black, and clearly the dreaded IBM T40-series video-card fault has finally done for her.
But I just want to say that that old beat-up, cheap as chips IBM T42 was a legend in her own lifetime. Dropped, soaked in salt spray many times, flung around in rucksacks across Asia, stuffed under my car seat and left there for weeks on end in all temperatures, spiked with a voltage that should have fried her innards, half her keys sticking because of the amount of crap under them, tiny black specks on her screen getting a little bigger every day, but she just kept on a-going.
Her looks may have had all the slickness of an Estwing 24-ouncer and you could probably have knocked nails in with her just as well; she was heavy as hell, but that was one tough old beast. Apple Mac? You fucking what? This is man’s stuff we’re talking about here**. Take your poodles elsewhere, this was the Bluetick Hound of lappies. This was Ducatis, Jameson’s and wild, wild women, not some effete, over-marketed paper-weight.
I’m going to bury her formally in the garden under a stone saying ‘Here Lies T42; An Honest Trooper if Ever There Was One.’ Please note that this is much more respectful than the send-off favoured by my daughter Charis, who prefers to throw dead computers out of upper-storey windows. I must admit it is fun.
*That’s ‘Deid’ as in ‘Aye, she’s bluidy deid aa recht,’ not ‘died’ spelled wrong. For those unfortunate enough not to be Scottish.
** Yes this is a completely gratuitous insult to the most overhyped hardware on the planet. So what?