September 23, 2002

Today's Treasure, Tomorrow's Junk

I did everything I could to avoid it. But today, I tossed an old friend into the dumpster and said goodbye, after more than 15 years. So long, old chum.

I really shouldn't talk to inanimate objects, I suppose, but my heavy, black florescent gooseneck lamp had been with me, perched on my desk at one house or another, through all of our moves, for such a long, long time. It peered over my work as a PT student in the basement in Birmingham. It watched as I pecked along clumsily in my little office on Ashe Loop in Sylva, struggling to learn how to copy a file from my massive 40MB hard drive onto a 5 1/4" floppy. That old lamp was the first thing I touched every morning for umpteen years as I stumpled into the early morning darkness of the study, or den, or family room to turn on the computer to connect with the bigger world. Let there be light! Voila! and the old lamp was there to provide it.

One too many clicks of the red ON button. It just failed. Nobody around carries the replacement part, even the large electrical supply places. But wait! There is a name on the switch, and a part number. Within an hour, I had gotten a return email. That part was discontinued many years ago. Sorry. For want of a two dollar part. Buddy, I guess that's it for us.

It hit the bottom of the greenbox with a sickening thud. I didn't look in.

Obsolescence is a terrible thing, when something has some years on it and a few defects, not as shiny and with fewer bells and whistles than its newer, younger replacement. It is put on a shelf in a back room; or put out to pasture; early-retired; or scrapped. It happens to people, too. Terrible thing, that.

Posted by fred1st at September 23, 2002 06:01 AM
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