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A fan of mine

Lance K. Pugh

I have, again, been made aware of just how dependent I have become upon my laptop. Within it and on the Web I run large programs simultaneously for photo manipulations, video editing, website construction, spreadsheets, file conversions and, of course, word processing. In the background lurk the anti-virus and anti-spam utilities that attempt to keep the whole world from plopping on my desktop and making me too crazy to think, which happens often enough on its own.

I try to back things up, yet find myself a digital couch potato when it comes to file maintenance. My files are organized in the same fashion that a squirrel uses to salt away the walnuts that drop with a vengeance each time I venture into the side yard without wearing a hard hat. The squirrels seem not to remember where they hide the nuts, rather, it becomes a matter of digging everywhere and sometimes finding lunch. My files seem to float about the system, surfacing occasionally while I wait patiently with my digital harpoon in hand.

Last night, during such a search for a whale of a tale, my laptop began rumbling and grumbling with a clatter that sounded like a cement truck was backing up to the house. I immediately began to fret about the hard drive and the wealth of gunk that passes for my work when I deduced that it was the fan that was making all the racquet.

I found the fan replacement instructions which read like the instructions for open-heart surgery and realized that to access the fan the laptop had to be reduced to tiny piles of varied screws and no part, save the screen, larger than a playing card. Relishing a challenge, I went online to ferret out a replacement fan, which, I soon learned, is not possible.

It was not that long ago that one could pop the hood of a car and see various parts of the engine, but, alas, this is no longer the case. One no longer replaces a part, as it seems that everything now comes in modules. In the case of the laptop I could not simply replace the 75 cent fan, as I was required to purchase a “thermal frame with fan,” which, if you needed to get things fixed fast, cost 61 dollars if delivered within the calendar year by pony and pit bull or 80 dollars if you wanted it the next day.

When the module arrived I began to disassemble the laptop being very careful to cover the table top with butcher paper so I could write down what went where and in what order. It was then that someone knocked at the door and while I was attending to that my wife, Annette, saw the perfect opening to put a new table cloth on my laptop workspace in the kitchen. Fourteen different types of screws were now happily in one spot, while casings, brackets and other disparate parts were strewn randomly about. The only thing I recognized was the monitor, which had been conscripted for use as a plant stand.

I have neither the courage nor recollection to detail what consumed me for the next 10 hours, but at the end of the effort a laptop stood ready to roar. I plugged it in and fired it up and waited…and waited. The fan seemed to be turning but the monitor remained darker than a freezer during a three day power outage.

While scratching my head my foot came upon a cardboard box under the table, which contained various parts of a disassembled laptop. Just as I brought my flashlight to bear, Annette appeared in the door way to announce:

“I put your old laptop and all its parts on the table and moved the mess you were making into a box until you finish putting back together your last attempt.”

So now I have a dead laptop with a new fan and a newer laptop searching for a breeze.

(Lance@journalist.com was last seen trying to fix an electric lawnmower in the rain, despite instructions to the contrary. Email him with some shocking news…)


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