EMMET MEARA

On losing your motherboard (whatever that is)

Posted Nov. 04, 2011, at 4:28 p.m.

It was like a death in the family, sort of.

After returning from a birthday celebration in Portland on Sunday, I turned on my trusty Sony laptop to update my vital emails.

Nothing.

It couldn’t be! I had left the laptop home, rather than schlep it to Portland and back. It would be safer at home, right?

I have come to realize in my 70 years that no matter what decision you make, it is always the wrong one.

I hate computers.

It was a lesson in how dependent we have become on our own little Hals. I had no emails, no Facebook, no bank balance, no iTunes, no national and international news, no New York Times crossword puzzle. (I subscribe; it’s cheaper than buying the newspaper every day.)

It was like there was a big hole in the house.

Like an anxious parent, I bundled up my computer and raced off to the computer hospital, Right Click. I was hoping for a minor medical procedure, like an appendectomy. Wrong, of course.

“The motherboard is gone,” the doctor said.

I don’t know exactly what that is, but I have had two of them go in about three years. It would cost $400 for a (used) replacement. Even I am not that stupid. Cost me $30, just for the diagnosis. I didn’t even go home. I went straight to Staples for a replacement.

The new computers, thank God, were $300 to $600, compared with the $1,200 that damned Sony cost me three years ago. I begged for assistance and a recommendation, then chose a relatively cheap HP Pavilion, even though that was the brand of the second-to-last dead motherboard (whatever that is). The Staples guy said that model was not in stock, but he could get it to my house tomorrow.

Tomorrow?

I chose another HP model, one in stock, for about $500. I couldn’t wait another day with no email, no Facebook, no crossword puzzle. He asked whether I wanted an extended two-year warranty, for another $55. I have never, ever paid for a warranty because I think they are a rip-off. But I realized once again that no matter what decision you make, it is always wrong.

If I didn’t buy the warranty, another motherboard (whatever that is) would bite the dust within two years, guaranteed. If I did, the computer would be bulletproof, at least for two years.

Sign me up.

With shaking fingers, I plugged in the HP Pavilion. There they were, my (45) e-mails, my Facebook, my crossword puzzle. It was a $500 miracle.

I love computers.

Now I have to figure out how to transfer my favorites, my 2,200 songs on iTunes. I assume all those Florida pictures are gone. I have no idea what else is missing.

But I am thinking of buying an extra motherboard, whatever that is.

Send complaints and compliments to Emmet Meara at emmetmeara@msn.com.

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