CARS, COMPUTERS, AND CASH: My Top-Three “Necessary Evils”


What things do you most hate to be without? Contraptions and gizmos that, when they work, you’re in love. And, when they go kablooey, you curse the day you ever discovered them? Well, my three are cars, computers, and cash. As David Letterman used to do, I’ll present these from least to most.

Number-threecars. You love when they run.  You fire up the engine, crank up the tunes, slide open the sun roof, and go, go, go. That is, until the needle on the gas gauge hovers below that red “check fuel” zone. Unless you want to walk twenty, ten, or even five miles to work, you gotta swing by the pump. Then, sooner or later,  those pesky tires and batteries rear their heads and twiddle their thumbs, waiting for you to deal with them. And, lest we forget, those annoying inspection and registration reminder.As the late Gilda Radner always said in her Roseanne Roseanna Anna Danna persona: “It’s always something!”

Number two: computers — the second biggest object of my affection/disgust: computers. And why are cars less annoying than computers? Because even if your car breaks down and you are stuck at home, you can always crack open that trusty laptop. Or can you?  Included in this category are printers, particularly the wireless ones, iPhones and I-anything-elses. As a college professor, I can count on my wireless printer to develop Alzheimers at three major times of the semester: the beginning,  the middle, and the end. Around our house, printer cartridges and toner drain like sieves, and printer paper becomes precious as  gold. Before we know it, we run out.  And don’t even trip my trigger about the short life span of even the trustiest laptop. Last year, my faithful,  five-year-old Toshiba — fifth in my laptop lineage– succumbed to a killer virus that rendered the screen totally black, never to light up again. Of course, its untimely demise happened two weeks before payday.

That leads to the number-one “root of all evil”– money.  Without it,  you can’t buy gas, pay for inspection or registration, or other matters automotive. Without “moolah”, you can’t replace the toner or buy paper, or, worst-case scenario, buy another computer. Without “dough”, you can’t buy food or even use your credit cards. In other words:  “no mon, no fun!”

Cars, computers, and cash — the top three on my list of necessary evils. What are the top three items you love until they go belly-up or need maintenance?



English: First 4 digits of a credit card
Image via Wikipedia

March 10, 2012

I can hear my parents cheering me on from the Sidelines, as they watch me feed  credit cards to Oscar, my shredder.

“Atta girl, Kimmie. We’re so proud of you!”

 As Oscar chomps down and swallows the plastic meal, the gluttonous machine releases a rainbow of red-blue-yellow-and-orange crumbs into its churning tummy before it growls for seconds and thirds.

“Ummmm……Mastercard…yum-num-num-num….Visa….Me want more!”

“Take that!…And that!” I snap at each card before sending it to Shredder Heaven. “From here on out, you’re not  the boss of me any more!”

At first, Plastic respected me. He knew his place — in my wallet — and he stayed there, offering to help  with purchases costing  a hundred dollars or more. But, except for home or car repairs, I rarely called on him.

Then came the drought — mid-December to late February and, sometimes, May to July. Despite the gaps between semesters and lapses in income, bills cannon-balled into my bank account, reducing it to a puddle. Waiting until I was ragged and vulnerable, Plastic pounced.

“You hungry? Thirsty? Put it all on me, baby,” he whispered in my ear.

 I became his slave, his private dancer. 

But now, it’s all over between us. Little by little, I’m reclaiming my independence and my dignity. No doubt about it — de-toxing from  him  has been hell, but, to quote Gloria Gaynor’s hit,  “I Will Survive“.