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Tabula Rasa...It's a Good Thing

My computer doctor/guru rang the doorbell this morning.  Under his arm he had the tower.  This desktop is now almost 8 years old.  I have babied it along making sure it always had what it needed as far as protection went.  When I originally bought it, as I do with everything, I got the very best that I could afford.  I made sure that it had tons of memory because I keep lots of photos/graphics, lots of writing, lots of files.......

One of the things I've alwys tried to do is to understand how things work.  One of the very few regrets that I have in life is that I was born just about a decade too early to be well and truly and educated computer geek.  I would have enjoyed being locked in a room some place employed as a software engineer or something else very technical.  I know this because I know me.  For one thing, I am basically a loner.  I live inside my own head.  When one writes a dissertation for a doctorate, chapter one always states the problem by stating the hypothesis in the null.  It's rather exciting to have figured out your topic for original research.  Chapter two is the literature review.  The literature review is pages and footnoted citations of previously published literature from a myriad of highly credible professional sources.  One spends hours and hours, days and days, months and months and sometimes even years and years in the university library scouring professional journals and academic literature to find not just any old works, but the correct works to support your problem.  Basically, it's "what do we already know about this area/problem."  Chapter three is methodology, ie what am I going to do to conduct the study...what instruments of testing will I develop, what measurements (ie multiple stepwise regression analysi or some other quantative measure) will I use to analayze the gatered data.  Chapter four is the results and chapter 5 is a discussion of the results and how your conclusion can be used in a real world application.  Most people hate chapter two.  It's tedious.  It's labor intensive.  It's dry.  I loved chapter two.  It was my favorite.  I loved being alone in that big old university library.  Everyone was quiet.  No one bothered you.  You sat by yourself.  You went from floor to floor section to section like a treasure hunter all alone in a cave. 

 Knowing this about myself is why I think if I had been born earlier, I'd have been a techie geek of some sort.  As it was, I went into the doctoral program that offered me a free ride.  In spite of my preference for geeky solitude, I learned to become adept at "working a crowd" and using interpersonal skills as easily as intrapersonal skills.  I can gladhand with the best of them.  I learned to become politically savvy with patrons.  It's all part of the hocus pocus that keeps your local school superintendent employed.  I also was fortunate enough and well connected enough once I finished the doctoral program to be hired out under the university auspices but paid by the local districts who needed a hired gun to pull their collected fat from the fires of ineptitude which they had created for themselves years ago .  I was good at what I did, namely revamp pathetically poor schools by having the skills and intestinal fortitude to be able to fire long tenured inefficient teachers.  I entered every district with a superintendent generated hit list of "should have never been given tenure by some prior weak principal all those years ago"   I had a strong background in school law, specifically teacher tenure law.  I knew due process as well as I knew my own name.  Dismissing a tenured teacher is a multi-year process.  A very few teachers cooperate to improve.  Those who can and are smart enough see the writing on the wall take an early retirement.  Some scramble and get hired in another district.  And some, well, they think "I've outlasted other building level administrators and have seen them come and go.  I can outlast this one too."  Those were the stupid AND inefficient teachers.  The ones who damage kids by their sheer vanity and  ineptitude.  Those were the ones with whom I went to the wall.  My job was lonely and it was stressful.  But I kept it simple.  I used only one guiding principle, "school is about what is best for kids.."  If a teacher wasn't best for kids and if a teacher didn't choose to want to cooperate and improve with help of course to become about what was best for kids, that teacher was my enemy.  It was just that simple.  Good teachers loved me, marginal teachers werescared to death, poor teachers hated my guts. Oh well.  I did this everyday until February 14, 1999 when Mayo Clinic informed me I was ill.  One day I was working, shortly thereafter I wasn't.  I ended up coming to Florida alone for medical treatment.  I met my husband the first week I was here and have remained.

Now, we return to the computer doctor at my door this morning.  Yes, it has been a convoluted journey to get back to him.  It's my journal and my story so we get there my way.  You pays your money and you takes your chances, My Friends.  I have, after six years, let my husband share the desktop.  We got rid of his old one and I said I'd share mine.  One day my computer was working and the next day it wasn't.  I know how a computer works, what helps it, what hurts it...that's me.  Husband doesn't care how a computer works.  He doesn't want to know.  He just wants to bang it and go.  He doesn't ever want to understand it.  Rather than  using a Trojan, husband picked one up somewhere on the web.  I spent days trying to find it.  I tried everything.  Finally I gave up and called Keith.  He said, "Do you want the expensive way or the cheap way?"  I said, "Tell me the difference.:  He said, "I can sit here for hours at one hundred dollars an hour and  try to find that trojan horse or I can take the tower home and do a system restore if you have your old original disks.  You can sit here for days backing up whatever files you want and then call me again.  It's up to you."  I thought about my hundreds and hundreds of links, my scads of graphics, all my programs, all of my stuff in Word, my Front Page webpage stuff.  I thought, that if I didn't care enough about any of it to back it up before then how much does any of it really mean to me?  Evidently not much.  I also thought about how one day I was a blue suit wearing hired gun making lots of money, living single and living large, living alone with no time to enjoy that money and no one with whom to enjoy it.  I thought about how I came here and started over and have had the best years of my life with a man I adore.  Sometimes I miss the Me that was, but mostly I don't.  I dug around and found the restore disk and whatever else Keith wanted and  handed them over.

At the moment I sit here at my desktop.  Literally thousands of files are gone.  I have no regrets. I've learned through the bigger picture that is life that none of this is important.  I am sitting here happily communicating with you, whomever you might be.  What has gone before is gone, the future is yet to unfold.  I'm living in the moment.  This desktop and I are born again computer virgins with no files weighing us down.  We're free to begin again.  Tabula Rasa...We all should practice it more often...It IS a good thing.

Reader Comments (1)

I'm a little like you. I can be very detailed and actually spent many years in the computer field doing the detail work. It was exhausting. Now I could care less about the computer detail and a happier person for it. But if you want to preserve your files after you get your computer back, invest in a flash drive. You can read all about it here -- If it wasn't for google and wikipedia - I'd be as dumb as a stump.

October 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

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