Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Story of the Three Laptops

Seattle Tourists
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
In November, a client signed me up to do a rather large project. I seriously attempted to price myself out of the market, but unfortunately, the client signed the contract anyway. This rendered the entire project too lucrative to reject. I set as a condition for the contract that they supply me with a Dell laptop. I love my Macintosh and I will never willingly invest in Windows based hardware again.

The first computer was a lovely, brand new beauty. It's sheer slickitude almost made up for its Wind-ugliness. I set to work the first day with a bad attitude, fast fingers, and a mission to earn at least a month's worth of cruising kitty. This spirit soured until Day 2 when I pulled out the laptop only to discover a thumbtack had worked it's way between the key board and the monitor. The LCD had a nice crunch in one corner and was bleeding black goo up into the rest of the screen.

The client was surprisingly sanguine about this issue. The laptop was a loaner and the thumbtack predated my use. It had been a deadly scorpion hiding in the toe of the laptop case, waiting to bite an unsuspecting Dell. The computer was dead, long live the computer.

The hard drive was swiftly moved to a new chassis. This laptop wasn't as nice but at that point, I wasn't about to complain. After all, I'd just destroyed a $1000 monitor. Unfortunately, the prior owner of this particular device apparently had a fondness for vanilla lattes and Cinnabons. The entire right hand was sticky and to get the O key to work I had to slam my ring finger down with a vicious, vehement strike of vengeance.

I slunk into the office, swearing up and down that the slick of coffee between K and L had nothing to do with me. Surprisingly, they believed me. Again, my hard drive was yanked from the gimped device and slid into yet another chassis. Oddly, the third iteration of my Dell client laptop was a bigun. The monitor was broad, the keys all worked, and there were no sharp pointy devices ready to sabotage my efforts lurking in the traveling case.

However, I underestimated the malicious power of the Boating Gods. Unloading the car a few days ago, my eldest slipped – an errant dock cleat reaching out and grabbing her foot, twisting it around, and spinning her. With a sense of horrible inevitability, I watched the laptop slip from her hands and splash into the dark chasm twixt doc and boat. Glub, glub, glub.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times and I'm thrust into the Inevitability of Threes. The Rule of Threes states unequivocally that when three things go wrong, you don't do it. Whatever it is, someone is trying to tell you something.

It's time for me to stop working, people. Stick a fork in me. I'm done.

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