By Doug Davison, Houston Herald

For the life of me, I don’t know what I was thinking.

Actually, I wasn’t thinking – and that was the problem.

As I write this, the shock still hasn’t fully worn off from witnessing the crashing of the Macintosh iMac model A1076 assigned to my work station in the Houston Herald office.

It wasn’t so much the unwanted, unexpected, inconvenient and inexplicable occurrence itself that was so distressing.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

Hearing the strange little “blip” sound it made as the screen went immediately and utterly dark was enough to make anyone’s heart jump a little, but was not really cause for great concern.

Pressing the power button and getting no response wasn’t even reason to be overcome with dread.

After all, the office is set up with a network as all good offices are these days. Just go to another computer, connect to the server and plow ahead.

Problem? What problem?

No, it wasn’t any of that that made my stomach turn, my head shake and my brain get stuck on “nooooooooo….!” It was the fact that in my infinite lack of wisdom I had placed several things I had been working on – wait for it – in a desktop folder.

Of course, since they weren’t in my folder on the server, I couldn’t get at them when the A1076 went bye-bye. And of course, they weren’t shopping lists or fantasy league rosters, they were things pertaining to this silly thing I do called a job.

Stuck ’em on the desktop. Nice move. “Save and save often” won’t help you this time.

Sheesh, who does that nowadays anyway?

I guess my only motivation for doing such a thing actually stemmed from a lack of motivation. I’m not blaming the dang machine, but I must have fallen into a state of complacency brought on by a technological stupor and didn’t see this coming.

I feel like a guy with no flood insurance whose house is under six feet of water who went along with the notion that “it’ll never happen to me.”

But happen it did. I need to get my hands on one of these t-shirts often worn the guys on a wrestling team I used to cover. Printed on the back were the words “now you know.”

Having my boss Brad Gentry graciously and kindly say “it’s probably the power supply” and that he’s “seen this kind of thing before” was kind of like getting back your lost wallet but finding out the $400 cash you had in it was missing.

Advances in technology have boosted our capacity to do many things quicker, easier and in some cases far better than before. Although I could argue that almost every advance brings with it increased expectations and many of them separate us further from our ability to do things for ourselves, I cannot argue with the fact that technology undoubtedly has its place in 2010 – even here in the jillikins.

But no matter what benefit technology may bring to present or future residents of Earth, there is one thing for which it will never be able to compensate: the bonehead factor.

No machine or integrated circuit chip will ever get in the way of our ability to screw up. As long as we have freewill, we will maintain our sovereignty over the realm of the mistake (sorry, John Calvin and company).

I should know. I used the desktop as a place to store things in an environment where there’s a network server. I relied on luck rather than common sense to protect me from, well, myself.

In the court of computers, I am the Duke of Dunderheads, the Earl of Error, the
Barron of Boneheads.

Maybe I should consider backing up stuff on our home computer.

Naw, that would make too much sense.

Doug Davison is a writer, advertising representative and copy editor for the Houston Herald. E-mail