February 2021

Getting Away With Things

I started by tipping a full glass of Diet Dr Pepper onto the keyboard of my laptop. Ummm, make that into. Of course I snatched it up and turned it on its side; but, as expected, the lights went out. I’d bought the laptop to use as a travel computer, and it served that purpose steadfastly until I stopped traveling and put it aside. In that case, you ask, what was it doing sitting open on my desk? Well, when the pandemic struck and my beloved Spanish class transitioned from the classroom to Zoom, I was grateful to have the laptop since my flat TV that I’m using as a monitor doesn’t have a camera in it. (Actually, it may very well have a camera and has been spying on me all along through collusion among Samsung, Google, and QAnon; but no, we’re not doing conspiracies anymore under the new administration. Well, some of us aren’t, but it appears that those who’d been most embroiled in them previously have redoubled their efforts.)

I very rarely looked back at my life analytically when I was young, but that’s no longer the case.  Now I realize that for my entire life I’ve been getting away with things, by which I mean that I’ve routinely escaped my just desserts for my misdeeds and blunders.  I’m a poster child for getting away Scot-free. 

There was that drag race when I was a junior in high school and a bunch of us in two Explorer Scout troops went out to the Crane sandhills south of Odessa for a capture the flag war.  I drove my parents’ 1955 Oldsmobile Super 88 and my friend Bill Danley was in his parents’ 1956 Buick Electra.  We started side by side on the flat, straight highway; and, thanks to the Olds’ Hydromatic transmission,  I left Danley in my dust.  By the time the Olds had topped out at 114 MPH, the Buick was small in my rear view mirror and I let off the gas a bit.  Then, as he began getting closer, I floorboarded it again.  This was to no avail, as he kept getting closer until he passed me at a brisk clip, seemingly continuing to accelerate.  It was then that I was told the old adage about Buicks: they could pass anything on the road except a gas station.  Bottom line, though, was that we both got away with the drag race.

That was far from the first time I got away with something, and I have continued to do so.  My greatest triumph was managing to conceal my incompetence well enough to get an honorable discharge from the Army, but I followed that by tricking Texas Tech into granting me an MA.  Thousands of little victories followed.

My latest is a case in point.

Anyhow, I spent the rest of the day combing the Internet for the cheapest possible laptop with a camera and went to bed thinking I’d go down in the morning to Costco and Best Buy to see what they had in stock. When morning came, I spat out the tooth grindings I’d generated in the night, made coffee, and came in here to do an email check. In angry frustration, I roughly jabbed the dead laptop’s On button; and WOW, it came on as if nothing had happened. Working through the forensics, I decided that since the beverage had no sugar, when it had dried overnight it no longer shorted out the laptop; and I’d just saved myself a few hundred dollars by once again Getting Away With Something. My friend Jim suggested that it was not necessarily the absence of sugar that permitted the restoration of the laptop. After all, we’d expect the shorting out would have destroyed some delicate little something in there, so we decided to call it a case of miraculous resurrection.

Meanwhile, here’s some more Valencia Street decoration:

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