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Posted By Opening the Heart

It's finally quiet on the ward. It's the hour after lunch and the hour before group therapy when I will listen to Karen tell us about her Uncle Charlie who comes through her bedroom walls to steal her sweaters; and to Richard who has a tatoo on his neck of a snake and a rose with the words "Don't Take Me Alive"; and to Mike who believes the Judgement Day has already come and we are all already in Heaven with the Day Nurses and the Psychiatrists administering our eternal ward rooms and medications....I'm not judging, mind you, because I am painfully aware that I am far from solid ground myself. Let me start at the beginning.... A few weeks ago I faced a painful awareness that my virus-riddled and slow moving dinosaur of a PC had to be put down. Putting it down, killing it or disassembling it was not the problem. It was the terrifying thought of what I would have to go through to get a new one. So I called my friend David and he said he would go with me to Staples and hold my hand through the ordeal. He met me at the store, said he's done "the research" and had, in fact, bought "that one" last month and that it was on sale and his recommendation was that I get it too. Then it began to happen.... David and the tech support person, " Darryl", started talking to each other. The scene began to blur and they now were talking in tongues. I was looking through the long end of a telescope as they debated rams, giggle bites and voltage regulators. Then I remember pulling out my credit card, smiling and saying "thank you". David tried to help me set up the new machine but we didn't know how to connect it to the wireless printer or how to find 6 years of Quicken data or where to find my address book. Also I couldn't find where my free 4 hours of on-line training were so I called my "chief wizard" consultant who yelled at me for buying a PC and not a Mac, and then made everything work for another $240. My wife told me I should have bought a Mac. I called my friend Peter who told me I should have bought a Mac. I was disappointing everyone. I began taking tranquilizers and went back into therapy, hoping to avoid an inpatient hospitalization. I realized one day before the return policy ran out that I'd made a mistake buying this PC and I brought it back to Staples. When "Darryl" asked why I was returning it, I told him I was going to get a Mac. He smiled and said "Good move!" Have you ever been in an Apple store? There are about 11,000 gawkers and geekers in there day or night. I threw myself around the ankles of a blue-shirted young man who unclenched my desperate hands and told me he didn't work there but I should talk to a salesperson.... Anyway, I bought a computer, arranged for a "training of data transfer", signed up for "one-to-one tech support", whatever that is; purchased 3 years of "I Care" which I think is where they send you a card on your birthday. And then I went for my inpatient evaluation.... The psychiatrists tell me they are confident I can someday walk out of the hospital into a bright shining 21st century. I smile flatly and say "I hope so, Doctor". But I really believe that I never was meant to leave the 1960's. And last night, Uncle Charlie came through the walls of my ward room asking me if I wanted to buy a Kindle.

With Love and Respect, Jon