Confessions of a MacAddict

When Tim asked me to write something for My Mac, I happily agreed. Being asked to do something besides tie shoes and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches really makes my day. (Then again, sometimes, the dog not throwing up in the house and the toilet not over flowing makes it, too.)

I am a mother with 4 young children, a loving husband, a meaningful part time job, and a growing home business. My life was full, happy, complete…until 18 months ago. My story begins that day in the Spring of 1994 when I bought a used LC lll. Now there is no turning back the clock to a simpler time when I knew not a Mac from an IBM.

Hello, my name is Carolyn, and I am a MacAddict.

How do I know I have crossed the line from casual user to MacAddict? In response to a column Guy Kawasaki wrote for MacWorld this past summer (“Mac Attack Test, May 1995), I felt compelled to examine my conscience, ruthlessly bringing to light the hidden truths of my daily habit. The resulting revelations clearly show the warning signs of my obsession:

• I think of my time in terms of “Working on the computer” and “Doing other stuff while Iwait to get back to my computer.”
• I let my husband’s Car and Driver subscription lapse so I could afford both Mac World and MacUser magazines.
• I have begun to refer to my children as “extensions” and yesterday told my husband to, “Load the little INITs in the car.”
• I do my weekly shopping at the Warehouse Club because I can record the check under the Quicken category “groceries” and still come home with a surreptitious $50.00 worth of new software. (They only let me out to buy Fruit Loops and Barney videos so I have to be creative.)
• I covet my neighbor’s peripherals.
• I harbor secret fantasies of waltzing into CompUSA with a start up disk and hacking all their demo programs.
• The last time my husband and I made love I found myself whispering in his ear seductively , “Hey big boy, want to make an alias with me?”
• I prefer to think of diaper changes as “doing a clean install.”
• I can remember the key combinations to zap the PRAM (command-option-P-R) and bypass the internal hard drive (command – option – shift – delete), but I can’t remember my mother-in-law’s phone number.

(One woman computer addict wrote to Guy for advice, saying that her daughter has accused her of loving her Mac more than her little girl. To which I reply: as a mother, you are entitled to use the definitive response handed down from Mothers through the ages, “Of course not honey, I love you both equally.”)

Since then, the situation has intensified at our house. As it is, the 18 month old is the only one I don’t have to fight for computer time. Until now, I have been able to outwit the rest of the little hackers by resorting to refurbished ‘mommyisms’: “You’re-goin-to-ruin-your-eyes-stunt-your-growth-your-mouse-finger-will-freeze-that-way if you don’t let Mommy have the computer.”

However, this is at best only a stopgap measure. It won’t be long before they expose my addiction and ‘pull the plug’, so to speak. Already, the older children have learned a powerful little secret: when Mom is messing with her Mac, they can pretty much call the shots and get away with just about anything. This includes inviting all the neighborhood kids in to pillage the fridge and setting up a pond life ecosystem in the bathtub….replete with ‘wildlife’.

I was forced to confront my weakness the day I recognized that my standard Mommy cliches had slipped into a parallel universe and mutated into MacMomma expressions:

•”Put that down, you Don’t know where it’s been!” has become….. ~”Did you scan that for a virus before you downloaded it?”
•”Sure, it’s always funny until somebody loses an eye.” has changed to….. ~”Sure, that kind of talk is hilarious, until they kick you off of AOL for it”
•”Wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident”….. ~”Always back up your files in case lightning strikes the house.”
•”Turn off the lights!”….. ~”Turn off the computer!”
•”Shut the refrigerator door!”….. ~”Quit all of your programs!”
•”See? I’ve taken all of the green peppers out. It’s safe to eat, now”….. ~”See? I’ve turned off all conflicting extentions.”Putt – Putt-Runs Down Bill Gates won’t freeze up anymore.”
•”Stop picking your nose!”….. ~”STOP CLICKING!”
•”Who put the Play Doh in the toaster?”….. ~”Who put the little Army guys in the disk drive?”
•”Dont make me come over there!” ~”Don’t make me come over there!” (Well, some things are universal…)

All is not lost, however. I am making progress in the fight against my addiction. Although I cannot claim a complete cure, I am showing signs of recovery. Yesterday, I stopped reading my email immediately and ran for the room where I had left my 3 year old playing with the baby as soon as I heard “Giddy up, little baby!” Today, after I meticulously Q-Tipped every nook and cranny of my new computer desk, I went ahead and dusted the mantle and the piano, too. Tomorrow I may actually talk on the phone without simultaneously checking my email. Who knows, I may even let my subscription to MyMac lapse………….NAH, now THAT’s going too far!


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