my mac story

Denise mentioned my desire for a Mac in a comment on the previous post so I thought I'd share the story of me and the only mac I almost ever had.

The University of Rochester kept a whole roomful of those little Macs, the originals, this was before the Mac II. They lived in a computer room off the Rush Rhees Reserve Reading Room. Every one of my college papers was typed on one of those Macs. This was before the days of mandatory computer ownership in your dorm room. Kids these days have it all.

In grad school, at the estimable Rutgers Graduate School of Management (located in the heart of scenic Newark, NJ), it was the same thing. A roomful of Macs. Now we were using the Mac SE... 8 Mhz of pure processing power! Man, we were cookin'. Me and my Interfunctional Management homies produced our beautifully crafted presentation to a major oil industry player on them.

Then I got a real job, left the cushy world of academia, and everything changed. I forget what computer I had for the heavy duty quantitative calculations I did for the likes of AmEx and AT&T, but it wasn't a mac. Back then, the way of thinking was that macs were good for desktop publishing and making pretty papers (which they were) and IBM clones were good for the number crunching. I'll admit, I was guilty of this too. Yet I still looked lustfully at the gorgeous numbers in the creative department... macintoshes, all of them. For the next four years, there was a steady stream of progressively better versions. Cappping off with the mysterious sounding Quadra.

I asked my boss for a mac. Many, many times, I asked for a mac. My boss grew weary with my ceaseless yammering about how macs could crunch numbers (maybe not as fast as my smokin' Compaq 386 33Mhz behemoth, but still), and besides I was doing more qualitative research all the time. Of course, he knew this perfectly well. He had a mac. Finally the upper echelons relented, or seemed to. I was told I would have a mac. So I waited.

And waited.

Then God himself intervened and spaketh, "Go ye to Ohio and work with young people!" I said, "wha...?" and God said "You heard me." It took six months for me to actually do what God said, and the promised mac had not appeared.

On my last day at that New York City ad agency, Friday March 5, 1993 (exactly one week after the World Trade Center bombing) I stepped foot in my cubicle to find this with a fourteen inch monitor and a big red bow on top. A post-it note stuck to the CPU said, "Well, Jim, you finally got your Mac. Enjoy!" It was not signed.

Ten days later I was working for a church in Ohio. I mentioned my macintosh fantasy to them and they said, "Macintosh?"

These days, I get by the best I can; using windows and working toward a better, brighter day for myself and my children.

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one.
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will mac as one
--What John Lennon would have written,
if there had been macs

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