Getting a new laptop: Things that make you go ‘hmm’

I woke before my son and wife on a recent Saturday. The house was quiet, except for the hum of the refrigerator and a bird chirping outside. My morning quiet was soon broken by some rustling outside our front door. When I went to check, I saw that a delivery driver had dropped off a small package.

I was getting ready to start a new job and my employer had sent me my new laptop.

I couldn’t wait to open the box and set up my office. I thought about another delivery a long time ago. Like this one, the delivery driver dropped the box at the front door. The box was much bigger, maybe three feet by three feet, and had a very distinctive look to it, the box had black and white spots like a Holstein cow.

For those old enough to remember, the box gives the delivery away, it was my first home computer, a Gateway Computer. It came with a then state-of-the-art 15-inch monitor that took up the entire desk. Several weeks earlier, I had read through the Gateway catalog like my life depended on, took detailed notes, and then called the 1-800 number and placed my order over the phone.

I vaguely recall that it had 8 MB memory, 400 MB hard drive, and 24k modem and cost me more than $2,500. I’m no computer geek, so don’t shoot me if I’m off on my numbers. This is the closest I can recall. In any event, technology has come a long way. Computers look nothing like they did in the early 90s. Who remembers AOL dial-up? But one thing has stayed the same: The excitement you get when you first turn on a new laptop or PC and you start playing and seeing what you can do with it.

I brought my new laptop inside and ripped open the box. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. It got me thinking about other things, both good and bad, that make you go ‘hmm.” Here’s what I mean: 

–Why is English so crazy, why does it make no sense? There are inconsistencies and exceptions. There are rules for some groupings, but not for others. There are homonyms and homographs — homonyms sound the same but have different meanings, and homographs are spelled the same but have different meanings. For example, “The bear raided the campground and kept eating until the food storage bin was bare.”

It doesn’t end there. You have singular and plural. And then my favorite: why do there, their, and they’re all sound alike, but have three different meanings? I won’t mention affect or effect or when to use who or whom!

–Why is it that I’m the wordsmith in my family, but my wife is consistently beats me at Scrabble, Wordle, or Crosswords. For instance, when we play Scrabble, I’ll fret and struggle to come up with a word and she’s got ten in a matter of seconds. I’m convinced that it’s the clock in my head, putting pressure on me, but it doesn’t matter, I’m still a “loser” to her “unfortunate” and “sad” to her “despondent.” With a triple word score thrown in, I definitely take a back seat to my wife!

–Why does it take hard work and discipline to lose two lousy pounds, but it takes one bad weekend to gain five pounds?

–Airport security? We traveled to California last year to visit our son. They checked our bag when we entered the airport and we had to stop at TSA for a full body check. But yet, when we landed and hit baggage claim, security was no where to be found. I’m not the mischievous sort, but I have to admit to being tempted to trade in my luggage for two or three nicer pieces in baggage claim.

–When I feed our 12-year-old dog, she licks my hand, but when I rub her belly or ears, she looks at me like I’m bothering her? Where’s the appreciation?

–Why do some people live to work and others work to live? How did each come to that conclusion?

–Why does technology come so fast, but then so slow? I read recently that cars, airplanes, and the telegraph were all introduced within 18 years of each other. The world’s first automobile to be propelled by an internal combustion engine, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, was built in 1885. Nine years later in 1894, Guglielmo Marconi built the first commercially successful wireless telegraph system. And, nine years after that, the Wright Brothers made their first flight at Kitty Hawk. 

–Why do we celebrate holidays if the actual days don’t matter? For example, we celebrate President’s Day, but it rarely is actually on George Washington’s or Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday. We celebrate Independence Day on July 4, but it is not the real American Independence Day. The Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia actually voted to approve a resolution of independence on July 2. However, July 4 is when the Congress adopted the official Declaration of Independence, and most didn’t even sign that until August.

–Of course, a classic, what came first the chicken or the egg? If a tree falls in the woods, does anyone hear it? Is there life after death? If life is short, then why do we all dwell on things that don’t matter?

Yes, these are all things that make me go ‘hmm.’

Related stories:

Things that make me go “hmm”

When I’m king of the world – Part III

When I’m king of the world – Part II

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