New computer has one eye and it’s spying on me!

Sharon Kennedy

Flash gave me a new computer for Christmas. He was watching a shopping network on television and called me when he saw a presentation of an HP wireless desktop. I’ve complained about my old Dell for years. I’m still using WindowsXP. I’m not sure what that means but it’s so old I no longer get updates. The Dell is slow to start, spends a lot of time buffering and causes hours of unnecessary frustration in my otherwise calm life.

Most men don’t care much about shopping, but not Flash. Shopping is his hobby. He’ll spend hours browsing the internet, walking the aisles of stores, stopping at garage sales, and thumbing through all my junk catalogs. I, on the other hand, shop only at the grocery store once a month. I used to enjoy purchasing stuff from QVC, but my Dell no longer allows it and I don’t have regular TV so QVC is a thing of the past.

Anyway, buying a computer was his way of making up for all the years he gave me groceries and toilet paper for Christmas. I heard the excitement in his voice as he explained all the features of the HP. I knew he was itching to buy it, so I agreed it would make a splendid gift. What I really wanted was a stout pair of winter boots for my snowshoes, but I didn’t want to disappoint him by saying no.

When the box arrived, it sat in the middle of my living room for two weeks. Flash inquired if I planned on opening it before Easter. I always had an excuse but eventually, I got out a paring knife, sliced through the tape, and took the thing out of the box. I dug around for the instruction booklet but, of course, there wasn’t one. The instructions were programmed into the HP which stayed on the floor for another week before I shoved my Dell to one side of my desk and set the new computer beside it.

I didn’t notice the eye staring at me until the thing was plugged in. Cyclops gave me the creeps, but Flash said nobody was looking at me. It was just an additional feature I would learn to love. I stuck a band-aid over the eye and tried to concentrate on my typing. The thing didn’t come with Word, but an equivalent was available. I hoped for the best and set to work. Unfortunately, the flat keyboard and I didn’t jive. I typed too fast for the HP so all my words ran together.

For an additional $99.00 Flash could have ordered a gizmo that promised to transfer all the stuff from my Dell to the HP in a matter of seconds, but he didn’t think I needed it. Mind you, all my columns, Woods-N-Water articles, dozens of stories, poems, songs, and photographs are on the Dell. You might say my life is on the Dell, but no matter. In time I’ll figure out how to switch my life to the HP. I just won’t figure it out this year. Probably not even next year. Maybe I’ll aim for 2020.

So here it is four months after Christmas and you guessed it, I’m still using my inefficient, slow, buffering, outdated, loveable old Dell. Flash lives in Detour, 60 miles from me. When he comes over, I put the HP back on my desk and find something on Netflix. Flash knows the only time I use my new computer is when I’m watching a movie or documentary. It doesn’t buffer or jump from one thing to another or do any of the crazy stuff my Dell does.

If you read my column regularly, you know I’m a creature of habit. I dislike change. I rail against modern mores I don’t understand. I long for the simplicity of the 1950s when a mouse was something you caught in a trap, a keyboard was part of a manual typewriter, a scroll was an ancient religious document, and “social media” was visiting the relatives on Sunday afternoon.

Flash knows this and for the most part accepts it. What he still hasn’t learned after 17 years is that when I complain about something it doesn’t necessarily mean I want to replace it with something else. I’m not crazy about cutting grass every week but would I want to replace grass with concrete? Of course not. I don’t like washing dishes, but am I going to let them sit in the sink for a week? No. My Dell is nine years old, my flip cell phone is seven, my favorite shirt is three, my desk is 40. Although I occasionally complain, I love my old stuff. I don’t want a new computer, a “smart” phone, a fancy Columbia shirt, or a glass and chrome desk.

So there you have it. I’ll continue to use my Dell with the elevated keyboard that allows me to type fast. I’ll put up with slow starts, false starts, and no starts. I love WindowsXP. It’s a true and trusted friend. And unlike the HP, my Dell has no telltale eye watching my every movement and following me from room to room.

Flash’s computer has an eye. Cyclops spies on him, as does his microwave and Keurig coffee maker. One day he’ll slip up and the men in white coats will come for him. Stay tuned.

Editor’s note: Sharon M. Kennedy of Brimley is a humorist who infuses her musings with a hardy dose of matriarchal common sense. She writes about everyday experiences most of us have encountered at one time or another on our journey through life. Her articles are a combination of present day observations and nostalgic glances of the past. She can be reached via email at In addition, Sharon has compiled a collection of stories from her various newspaper columns. The title of her book is “Life in a Tin Can.” Copies are available from Snowbound Books on North Third Street in Marquette.