In Uncategorized on April 3, 2010 at 12:18 am

Photo by Lisa Guidarini

The Crash

by Matt Brauer

Let it not be true that I would open any writing with a line such as, “Tragedy struck today,” or, “A woe hast befallen me.”  Though I cannot be accused of perpetual optimism, such openers are a bit too adverse, too gloomy.  Who wants to read any article beginning with, “Tiny Tim, now fully enveloped in the terminality of his sickness, was at death’s door awaiting only the somber, hollow knock from Mr. Grim Reaper or any other solitary spiritless soul aching to claim the body?”  Well, maybe me; that wasn’t a bad opener, but only because of the liberal dose of sarcasm.

Despite my resistance to such opening words, certain instances of tragedy are worth documenting, if not for historical value, then to provide a future record to inspire my anger.  For what good is anger if it cannot be revisited on occasion like an annoying friend or recalled like the plot of a frustrating movie?  Transitory anger, anger unremembered, is like a Picasso in the sand – washed away by the first lapping wave of happiness, never to be experienced again.  Recalled anger renews the strength of the recaller, and sometimes I need a good dose of strength.

Such a type of calamity occurred this past weekend when my computer hard drive crashed.  Anyone who has experienced a disk crash knows what a monumental inconvenience it is, even if all critical data is backed up or copied.  In my case, I coerced it to crash from excess fiddling.  My direct involvement in the succumbing intensified the anger I directed at the digital devil box, defense for my ego in the form of psychological projection.  An equal amount of blame was directed towards Microsoft; I’m sorry, Mr. Gates, but if that file was so damned important to keep my computer running, your software should have tried to prevent me from modifying it.

I am not one who tends to follow theoretical processes such as the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief.  In this case, five stages were not enough; I found myself mired in eleven stages of grief.  First came denial, then the anger I spoke of.  Actually, the denial and anger occurred simultaneously, as I shouted a stream of profanities punctuated with “No’s” throughout my forensic exploration of the damage I’d done.  Panic was next, as I checked to see if I really did back up all my data.  I knew full well I did, but I am prone to outbursts of anxiety attacks, such as when I panic over my car keys missing from my pocket while I am driving.

After the panic attack was over, I entered stages four and five.  I was overcome with hunger and an intense need to use the washroom.  I used the washroom first.

Next came stage six: buyer’s remorse.  I thought about the amount of money I spent for the privilege of crashing my computer, the cost of going through these six stages of hell, and the price I paid to complicate my life so much.  I rapidly slid into stage seven, contemplation, as I imagined a world without computers, with good, clean, happy people in white clothing frolicking about in a sunny, flowery meadow.  Suddenly, trumpets blared, and The Machine ripped through the crumbling ground.  The skies transformed to a smoky grenadine haze as the happy, ignorant people filed into The Machine, assumed their places in their cubicles, switched on their terminals, and began to feed The Machine boxes and boxes of software, rebooting the electronic beast after every disk.  Another trumpet brayed, an illegal instruction occurred, and I awoke from my reverie.

Then came acceptance.  This was immediately followed by denial, frustration, and once more by anger, as my mind transformed to a smoky grenadine haze when I realized I had to reload boxes and boxes of software, rebooting after every disk.

The aggravation lingers as I continue to feed the beast and grow it back to its level of pre-crash maturity.  At the same time, I am exuberated by the experience, as if I have just created a caustic Picasso, an artwork of anger.  So, I will not write, “Tragedy struck today,” or, “A woe hast befallen me,” because this particular misfortune has inspired a refreshing and energizing level of ire.  And now that I have captured it in writing, it can inspire me in future days.  At least until the next electro-adversity – which may not be far off.  I think I heard the refrigerator making strange grumblings this morning.

mixed media by Lisa Guidarini


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