Life’s Lessons

Computers – blessing or curse?

Soon after I returned to northwest Ohio, I bought a computer. I wanted to be connected to the rest of the world. So, with no knowledge of what I needed to become computer savvy, I purchased a computer. I learned to write on it but had no printer so what I wrote just stayed there. Time passed. So did the computer. I never did anything with it.

At a later date, I again purchased a computer. This was a used one and served me well for a number of years. I even had a printer! I wrote my columns and printed them. It finally crashed and I lost all the columns that were on that storage system.

When I started working at the Expositor, I learned to typeset on their computer system. That’s all we did with it at that time. I liked it because corrections could be made so easily!

My oldest brother, Russell, had written “Of man and God” for the Expositor for 24 years before his death. I think he began his writing with a typewriter, then progressed to using a primitive computer and gradually upgraded. He also progressed in computer knowledge and usage. I have always admired him for the work he did with the writing equipment available to him at the time.

I am now in the beginning of my 25th year of writing “Life’s Lessons” and often wonder how diligent I would have been had I not had the computer. As I said, it makes corrections so easy! Of course, there is also the flip side of that coin – it is equally easy to make a mistake while making a correction. Be it a misplaced comma, an extra word or a word omitted – they are all easy to do.

I remember the term papers while I was in college, all done on a typewriter. How often I would produce what I believed to be an error-free page only to discover I had written one line too many for the page! It couldn’t be erased so I had to start over.

I was absolutely thrilled when erasable typing paper came into being. It was more expensive but the writer could actually erase a small error, then line it up in the typewriter and make the correction. I got pretty good at lining up for a re-print.

At the Expositor, comfortable with the old system, I was less than thrilled to learn we were getting new computers! “It will be so much easier,” they said. It was a whole new system. Everything but the keyboard had changed. For about the first three weeks, I found myself saying, “And this is easier, HOW?” Of course, it was easier. I just needed a learning period. We no longer had to physically cut and paste our work because “cut and paste” was part of the program. The paper was now sent to the printer via email. The truck only went to pick up the finished papers.

Now, when my computer simply won’t work, I feel lost. What about my jigsaw puzzles? The major problem, however, is getting this column written and sent on time!

It happened again this week. The lady who built and services my computer understands my need to meet a deadline so she came as soon as she could. The first fix didn’t work because the new part was defective. I was glad to see her again early the next day with a restored computer which I am now using.

Her skills in this area are dumbfounding to me! She speaks an entirely different language. Still, there is common ground because we both know Jesus as Savior. After all, He made the very first computer – the human brain! Do you know Him? There is no better time that right now!

Computers – blessing or curse?