Though the news wasn't good, Gwendolyn was grateful that the computer repair shop at least provided silk pillows on which to rest after she fainted.

Gwendolyn was grateful that the computer repair shop at least provided silk pillows on which to rest after she fainted, and a silk cravat to dry her tears.

His voice is tense. His instructions decisive. He wants to make sure there is no misunderstanding regarding what needs to occur.

“Listen to me carefully. I want you to pack it in a cooler with ice. Be very careful not to jostle it around. Put the cooler in the car and drive straight here. Whatever you do, don’t stop anywhere else. We don’t have much time.”

Am I transporting an organ for transplant? Vital plasma needed for a transfusion? An accidently amputated finger? Nope. Just my hard drive. Which happens to be in the freezer at the time of this conversation.

Let me back up. A few months ago. My hard drive crashed. I’m not talking a regular crash, I’m talking a full on plummeting to earth from 20,000 feet without a parachute crash. One that took my laptop and its operating system with it. Now, I’m no dope. I had backed up my data to an external hard drive. Yay for me, right? Not so fast. It turns out that I did the backup wrong.

See, I plugged in the whatchamahoozit and it asked me whether I wanted to make a copy. So of course I said yes. Because that is what you are supposed to do, right? Make a copy? Nope again. It turns out I should have clicked “no”, because doing so would have brought forth a whole ‘nother hidden list of options that I should have selected from instead. But I never saw those because they were hidden behind the “no”, sort of like the new car is hidden door behind number three on Let’s Make a Deal. So instead I ended up with a mule and buggy and the “womp womp” sound.

So I have the data, but my old laptop is the only machine that will ever ever be able to read it. What does that mean? It means if I ever want to see my data again, I have to somehow give the old hard drive one last shock to the heart to get it going again. Even if it works for only the five minutes it would take to pull off one vital document, it would be worth it.

Not gonna lie, it feels like hauling the defibrillator out to give Grandpa one last jolt so he can wake up and sign the will. (“CLEAR! Oh, great. Anyone have a pen?”)

Which brings me to why my hard drive-sicle is currently nestled among the pot pies and bags of carrots in my GE Profile freezer drawer. Don’t laugh. See, I read on the internet… HEY! What did I say about not laughing?… that if you freeze a crashed hard drive there is a possibility that you could retrieve at least some of the data.

But..the IT guy doesn’t laugh, and anyone knows that if the IT guy doesn’t laugh at you then you have done something right. Because if given the opportunity, they will wield their revengy-smugness like a light saber. Of which they happen to have 14 at home.

I drive quickly to the computer repair place, and present my frozen hard drive to Randall, a hulk of a man with an Abe Lincoln beard and what appears to be a tenuous grasp of social skills. Despite his difficulty making eye contact, he accepts it gingerly and whisks it off to what I imagine is a waiting team of experts. I picture them standing around a table with tools poised, headlamps blazing, ready to perform the miracle for which they have been trained. For an hour, I pace. I check my e-mails, then pace some more. Why hasn’t anyone come out yet? What could be happening back there?

Finally, Randall appears from the mysterious netherworld of computer repair land to offer his expert diagnosis.

“It’s toast.”

Geez, Randall, try not to be so technical, will ya?

I’m familiar with the five stages of grief, and fortunately I have moved through all of them by the time I reach the parking lot. Since you don’t just throw a hard drive away, or at least I don’t, all that remains is to decide upon a final resting place.

And I know the perfect spot for it to spend eternity. I’ll just have to eat some of that ice cream to make room for it first.


  1. Ha! Loved this. Hard drive-sycle! lol. See? You have a fairly recent post up here. Write some more, you’re great. Pleasure meeting you at Erma and hope to see you in workshops this weekend.

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