I say goodbye to the computer that has accompanied me on so many adventures.
When I was a child, I had a stuffed bear named (appropriately) Mr. Bear. He went wherever I did, and whenever he was damaged or lost, I’d feel devastated. It is normal for children to anthropomorphize inanimate objects – particularly stuffed animals – because, even if on a subconscious level we know better, there is nevertheless unshakable sense that they are truly alive.
This brings me to Croc, my laptop computer.
I don’t think I’ve ever owned a single computer longer than Croc. When I first purchased the Lenovo Thinkpad in 2012, I couldn’t have imagined the memories we would soon share. I had just started my PhD program studying history at Lehigh University, moved into a new house in a new city, and was preparing for the next phase of my adult life.
Then my writing career took off. I had always dreamed of being a professional writer, but right around the time that Croc entered my life, that ambition was realized in ways I had never imagined. More than four years later, I have had 571 articles published, the vast majority of which were composed on this machine. It has been used to inspire me, conduct research for me, and present me with my moments of triumph after a new piece has been published.
Croc has also played a key role in my social life. It has helped me maintain old friendship and start new ones, develop meaningful connections with far-flung correspondents who enjoy my articles, and plug me into a world far beyond the confines of the small Pennsylvania city where I live. Thanks to online dating, it has also allowed me to pursue a romantic life – from serious relationships to casual encounters – that may not have been otherwise possible for a socially awkward Aspie. Finally, it has been a place for escape when the pressures of my professional and personal lives become too great. One of my favorite pastimes has been to turn on Croc, settle down with a movie or TV series, and retreat into a completely new world.
Yet as you can see in the picture that adorns this article, Croc is huffing and puffing through his final days. The screen is falling apart, the keyboard is maddeningly sticky, and the whole device in general gives off an aura of decrepitude. For a while I’ve been in denial about this reality, but practical considerations can only be suppressed for so long. It is time to say goodbye to Croc… even if that little inner child is still clinging to him.
As a parting thought for a computer that I have loved for so long, I will share the story of how he got his name. When I first opened Croc, I had never used a touch pad instead of a mouse, and was amused at the scaly sensation beneath my fingertips. It reminded me of crocodile scales – and then, when I happened to watch an online review for a movie named “Croc,” I knew that this moniker was its destiny.
You will be missed, sweet Croc. Indeed, I can’t fathom how I could ever forget you.