Childhood Memories · Colorful Retellings of History · Objects · Personal Anectdotes

Mourning the Death of Microsoft Paint

AOL2I grew up at a strange time right before technology exploded when boom boxes with shiny new CD players were where it was at. It was also an age before home computers were common. Few people had them and my father was one of them. He probably had to have one for his work, you see he was working with this strange new thing called The World Wide Web. I was five and that sounded so deliciously mysterious to me. He tried to explain it to me, saying that he worked with computers – computers that talked to each other. Of course having no concept of the Internet I thought the computers were some sort of sentient beings that gossiped to other computers about their owners. I wondered if they’d be critiquing the scrawling doodles I was making in Microsoft Paint or share the story I was plagiarizing typing in the word program. Now I think about it this is pretty telling of my later social anxieties that instead of making the computers out to  be benevolent creatures they were fiercely critical spies… Huh!

dot-matrix_printer_paperBut anyways… since I didn’t live with my father I didn’t get to learn the computer much. My mother wouldn’t get a computer until I was ten, or maybe even twelve, – a pass down, as was much of our belongings. We were lucky to have it then, most of my other poor peers did not. The only thing it could really do was type and print what you had typed on long sheets of perforated paper. Ripping the “dots” off the sides of the paper was one of the most satisfying activities ever but it had to be saved for after something was printed, otherwise the paper would be useless. It was a cruel trick.

trojanIn these early days of the PC these were fragile machines. Being a kid I crashed them almost every time I had a chance to use them and even completely wiped the hard drive twice. Children have always been the worst virus ever to hit technology but I digress.

Over the years I learned how to use Microsoft Paint. Of course I drew houses like everyone else. It was so easy! Just make a box and a triangle and there you are! A house! A few more boxes and you had a chimney, windows, and a door. The perfect lazy drawing. Only in my teens did I take myself somewhat more seriously but not really… I started drawing comics of Glen the Hookah Smoking Caterpillar. He was the great grandson of the Hookah Smoking Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland… and one of the biggest reasons my bestie at the time would constantly be yelling, “WHHHHY do you have to make everyone think you’re on drugs?!” Glen was fat, rubbery, and made adorable babbling and squealing noises in my head. Recently I considered resurrecting him from the dead only to find Microsoft Paint is no longer being installed on new computers. The horror. The only user-friendly drawing program is dead! RIP Microsoft Paint. I will miss you.




Colorful Retellings of History

Shakers – Shakin’ it on Up

One of my more endearing quirks would be my ability to make history seem absolutely ridiculous. Without warning I will start ranting about one thing or another and before I realize what has happened I will find myself creating entire dialogues with historical figures or retelling the facts in a way only a deranged person could. This was pointed out recently when I was driving my car past the ruins of a Shaker Church and adjoining cemetery. My passenger made the unfortunate decision to ask me what the Shakers were all about. And this is what I said…

The Shakers were a Christian religious cult. They were so named for their habit of shaking. Just as modern snake handlers molest unsuspecting rattlers in the name of Christ, and holy rollers babble Gibberish like infants as they’re taken over by the spirit, shakers were into convulsive compulsory shaking. Every Sunday they got together and in one seismic mass they’d shake together in a willful epileptic fit. For God. Or something. But what’s really interesting is why they don’t exist anymore.

Shakers went extinct because they didn’t believe in sex. At all. For any reason. Even for the procurement of children which were needed to keep the thing going. Men and women, even those that were married, would be forced to live in completely separate building, rather like a college dorm and every Sunday everyone would get together and shake it all out for Christ. One wonders if they had so much pent up energy maybe it would have better been spent screwing each other than shaking solo. But that’s just my take on it.