Maggie’s winners from her Waste Not, Want Not, Win Some post: Jane Babbitt, Karen M, and kms01906. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to pick your book and tell her where to send it. Happy holidays!
My two-year-old desktop computer is glitchy. I already had to restore it to “factory settings” within two months of buying it, which does not bode well for its future, or mine. Somewhere I have the software to do it again, if only I could remember how. But wiped clean, I’d lose stuff I don’t even remember having. So, I’d better live with the balkiness as long as possible.
I can’t remember a lot of things. Like how many desktop computers I’ve gone through since I began writing for real. I have witnessed the Black Screen of Death, the Bouncing Beachball of Doom, the Twirling Blue Circle of Despair. There have been viruses, hijackings, and multiple malware attacks. I once picked up something nasty logging onto the New York Times on a Sunday morning. So if you think bad things only happen on porn sites, you are incorrect and casting aspersions upon my virtue.
I’ve had a lot of laptops too, scaling size and weight down for travel every couple of years. When we moved, I discovered a treasure trove of abandoned devices. It’s too depressing thinking how much money I’ve spent on technology. There’s always something new and shiny ahead, but nothing helps me write any faster.
Which makes me consider planned obsolescence, and how accustomed we are to simply throw things away. My Depression-era parents would be rolling in their graves if they weren’t cremated. My father saved mildewed shower curtains “just in case,” and my mother collected the shiny silver paper from cigarette packs. Hot water was added to jam and ketchup bottles to get to the last goo. We had a button box filled to the brim, and a rag bag of cut-up old clothes. Like Scarlett O’Hara, my mother once made us dresses from my dead Great-Aunt Helen’s drapes, luckily without the curtain rods a la Carol Burnett.
A few weeks ago, our toaster didn’t work, and it didn’t take me a minute to unplug it, toss it in the garage with the rest of the trash, and order a new one from Amazon. The next morning, my husband tried to turn on the coffee maker. That too didn’t work. Duh. The circuit breaker had tripped. The toaster was retrieved from the garage and the order cancelled. I am ashamed it didn’t even occur to me to check the electric panel—I expected the toaster to conk out.
Which brings me to the holidays and all the unnecessary presents on Santa’s list. Some years back, we decided to do a Yankee Swap. Our family has grown exponentially, and it became prohibitively expensive to buy individual presents. The grandchildren still get some loot, but the adults get one or two presents each. There is much talk of supply chain issues this year, but I am steadfastly ignoring that. Can’t get the latest gadget? Too bad. That gadget won’t change your life and it will join my wonky old computers in the landfill soon enough.
(We’ve never gone too crazy at Christmas anyway. When the four kids were little, we told them they could ask for three presents, the same number given to baby Jesus. You can’t go wrong with that.)
I have the usual amount of guilt about my full bookshelves and full closets and full refrigerator and full freezer when there is so much need in the world throughout the year. Donations to libraries, thrift stores, and checks to the Good Shepherd Food Bank help some. And looking ahead to 2022, I’m going to think twice about one-clicking on Amazon. That’s my Christmas gift to my husband, and it won’t cost a thing.
Until the computer finally crashes.
Even if it’s not Win a Book Wednesday, I’m in the mood to give some books away to get the season started. Check my Amazon page (don’t mind the half-naked people on some of the covers) and tell me what you’d like (mystery or romance), and I’ll pick 3 winners. Merry! Happy!