<a href="http://stephenbrayton.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/computer_dependency.jpg"><img src="http://stephenbrayton.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/computer_dependency.jpg" alt="computer_dependency" width="279" height="229" class="alignleft size-full wp-image-776" /></a>I know, I know. I didn't post last week. First time in years.

Well, all I can do is humbly ask for your forgiveness and explain the reason. I didn't have a computer from which to post. Why? Because for a number of weeks it's been giving me problems and this last week it gave up the ghost.

I remember working with computers in high school. I don't recall exactly for what class. All I remember are the cool games we played. Zork and a really simple Stark Trek game that I really enjoyed but never could find it again after graduation.

In college I didn't work with computers. Graphic design for the newspaper was cut and paste. I worked with a primitive computer at my first job which was to program songs and commercials. But the songs were on reels (like film reels) and the commercials were on cartridges that looked like 8-track tapes. Remember them, Johnny?

I owned my first computer when I moved to Oskaloosa long about 1990 or so. An Apple. The Internet was barely out of the starting gates and chat rooms were the big thing. I really enjoyed Apples because they didn't seem to have as many problems (viruses, malware, etc.).

When I hired on at the newspaper we worked with Macintoshes which I learned to love because of the graphic design program. Photoshop was brand new as was HTML but I never really learned either. I took an intro class to HTML which, surprisingly, I remember all these years later upon which to expand.

My second motel job I started with Windows '95 which conflicted with the DOS program and the computer experienced glitches about every two weeks.

I've owned an E-machine, a Dell laptop, a Lenovo laptop, (all of which went !@##!!^$* after awhile) and currently I am working from an HP workstation laptop and have a HP desktop waiting for me to play with at home.

I enjoy computers and what they do, the benefits, how they ease life in so many ways. However, I really don't like the fact we have become so dependent on them. What did I do before computers? Well, as a writer, I wrote stories. Watched television. Read books. Since I've owned computers I've transferred my longhand stories into Word documents, watched television from downloaded shows, and have listened to or read books on the computers through Media Player, Kindle, or Calibre. Currently, I'm taking online courses to improve my graphic design skills.

So, what happens when my computer is broken or experiences problems as it has been for a couple of weeks? I revert back to paperback books, print out written stories to edit and wonder if I'll have a computer to make the deadlines for my assignments. I do my duties at work in silence because I don't have an audio book playing. (And I've discovered the small radios around here don't pick up crap.)

I truly believe we have become too dependent on computers. They're everywhere and as been discussed elsewhere, they've taken us away from ourselves. Families at restaurants don't talk to each other because they're all plinking away on their phones or the kids are playing with tablets. Children go nuts without their playstations or hand-held video games. (Crimeny, my sister and I read books, slept or teased each other on trips when we were kids. We didn't have DS's or whatever the hec they're called. We play car games. Remember the license plate game? I spy? Okay, most of the time we picked on each other.) Car mechanics don't fix your car with screwdrivers and wrenches. Instead, they hook your engine up to a diagnostic computer to find the problem. I don't want to get political here, but Obamacare has forced doctors and hospitals to learn all new medical coding (over 70,000 new codes) and they're spending more time inputting information onto computers and less time with actual human patients. Nearly every week you hear a news story about identity theft.

I enjoy some of the books and movies where the world has gone through a technology crash usually because of a super EMP somebody let loose. Or those various versions of the old movie, The Forbin Project with Eric Braden (Victor on Young and the Restless) where the computers take over the world. I think we're too close to those fictional scenarios becoming truth and it may be only a matter of time before something along one of the above two lines actually occurs.

I'm glad I have a computer again but there are times I wish I didn't require one to function.

Or at least give me my old Star Trek game back.

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