An unhealthy like

Maybe we all get this way with the tools of our trade. Plumbers, probably, have their favorite wrenches. Carpenters their favored hammer. Politicians … whatever politicians use on a regular basis.

Probably voters. Or lies.

We all have a strange attraction to the things that help us through our day, that get the work done, that make our lives easier.

So let me tell you about my laptop.

OK, it’s weird. I’ll cop to that. But I damn near love my laptop.

I’ve used lots of personal computers in my life. Started with a Commodore 64, sitting on the floor of an apartment in Hawaii hooked up to a small black and white television. I’m relatively certain that it wasn’t called a laptop back then.

I graduated, when I got to Cincinnati, to the Radio Shack TRS-80. The Trash 80. Oh, what a machine.

I had Lenovos and Toshibas and several others, supplied by work, through the years. Some better than others. Most heavy bricks of machines, built to withstand carry-on bags and bumps in the back of cabs.

A few years ago, though, I decided I needed one of my own, so I began doing my research. A lot of research. I finally settled on a 13-inch MacBook Air, which is what I’m pecking away at right now. This whole blog, such as it is, has been carried out by four or five fingers, and an occasional thumb or two, on the keyboard of this baby.

I paid, five years ago, something like $1,700 for this thing. It was then, and is now, a ridiculous amount. A stupid amount. You could buy two very good laptops for that price, maybe three. A right-thinking person wouldn’t pay $1,700 for a laptop, especially when it’s used primarily for pecking, not for gaming or photo editing or more tech-heavy pursuits like that.

But, after looking around, I fell thumbs over pinky for it, smitten like some early adopting sucker. The MacBook Air was one of the first mass-produced laptops to adopt solid-state memory, making a whirring hard drive unnecessary. It had a state-of-the-art display at the time which was absolutely stunning. (The display isn’t state-of-the-art any longer — in fact, state-of-the-art comes around three or four times a year these days — which makes for a lot of states.)

Its aluminum body is sleek, still, its thin profile damn near sexy. Apple sold it in commercials then by pulling it out of one of those inter-office envelopes. So cool.

Plus, Apple then (like Apple now) was considered to be the cutting-edge best. It might not be that way, then or now. Plenty of Android lovers and Apple haters would be glad to argue the point. But it was — and, yes, still is — on the edge of innovation.

Case in point: The MacBook Air not only ditched disk drives, it did away with optical drives — the internal devices that read CDs and DVDs and burn copies on discs when you need to back up something. The decision was, at the time, radical. So radical, in fact, that feeling uneasy about six months after I bought my laptop, I flipped down $75 for an external drive that plugs into a USB port. I’ve used it about three times.

I added extra storage space on my solid state drive. I went for the quicker processor. I blinked at the price, probably about 1,700 times. But I fell hard.

I’d do it again. In a second. Whenever I have to.

The thing is a workhorse. It has rarely given me any problems, and any hiccups it’s had — an occasional pinwheel of death here or there, an unexplained shutdown — have been brief and few. I have become so attached to the multi-touch trackpad, and so adept with it (even with only a few working fingers) that I haven’t used a mouse in years. Don’t need it. Too clumsy.

About a month ago, I put in a new battery (which is to say Luke installed the battery for me) and it’s performing better than ever. Lasts for hours unplugged.

I hope, someday soon, to write some great short stories on this baby, or start that novel, or to at least up the game on JD Blogs. We’re tight, this machine and I. We’re a team.

Maybe I should give Her a name.

OK. Maybe this is a little too weird.

But at least I’m not attached to a freaking ball-peen hammer.

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