Dr. Bill’s Excellent Adventure

Dr. Bill bought a laptop. I was afraid there would be another earthquake, but so far so good.

It is amazing to me that a man in professional practice can survive into the Year Of Our Lord 2011 without even attempting to use a computer but that is the feat Dr. Bill, my chiropractor and longtime colleague, has performed. Sunday morning he called to announce he was going to the local Micro Center, a recommendation I had made a couple of times, before he lost his nerve; he had just taken a couple of Prozac so they would kick in by the time he got there. I panicked slightly and shoved the extra phone handset at my engineer, who built the computer I am using at the moment. “Tell him some specs,” I said, the whites of my eyes probably showing. “Bill, write this down.” I broke in at various points explaining the meaning of things like RAM and gigabytes, and what an external mouse was. It was kind of like watching someone go off to buy a car before learning to drive, but that was the only way he was going to get it done and the staff at this particular store is remarkably merciful to computer novices.

Dr. Bill called me the next morning, overwhelmed by the manual. I don’t believe he got much further than taking it out of the box, on account those manuals are full of legal-immunity warnings about not taking the computer into the bathtub with you and so forth, which left him completely terrified. I made a date with him to set it up together, marched into Barnes and Noble on the way to the gym, and procured a copy of Windows 7 for Seniors, For Dummies. I think he has forgiven me.

You never know what is going to fetch someone. I had always thought that the Internet’s via regia to the great knowledge bases of humanity would be the thing that captured Dr. Bill’s imagination, but even without an Internet connection, which will have to wait till he squares things with the local provider, we walked through the setup and opened Windows Explorer, and the “Libraries” option and its Music tab visibly raised his pulse rate, even if the music preloaded on the computer was shit.

“Do you know you can get an account with a thing called iTunes that lets you buy music and store it in a tiny device called an iPod you can take anywhere?” I asked him.

Richard Brautigan was talking about sex, but nothing compares to the brain’s lust for information in whatever form:

Is there anything more beautiful
than the bow of a ship
touching a new world?
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7 thoughts on “Dr. Bill’s Excellent Adventure

  1. I love that Brautigan line. Also amused by the commenter at the link, who insists Columbus wore sandals. Why would he think such a thing? And by the other one, who seems unaware that Columbus has descendents carrying his name to this day.

    Anyway. How could you tease the man with references to iTunes and an iPod? I’ve never encountered such a contrast between high popularity and lousy design. I know Apple gets all these accolades for creativity, but I never could stand actually using their products. There are alternatives.

    All THAT aside, I think the man is to be congratulated for holding onto sanity for so long. Of course, in a mad world, only the mad are sane, and eventually we’re left without any real choice between sanity and madness.

    • Well, I’ve never used either i-Thingy myself, but they are easily recognizable names that will give him something to go on. I know he’ll be a long time getting any kind of handheld device, so we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.

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