Hang on kids, because the metaphors, similes, half-quotes and cries of desperation are going to fly. I am in an extended state of anxiety, and it’s all because of Steve Jobs, who shall henceforth be referred to as Stevistopheles.

I sold my soul to Apple about twenty-five years ago when my boss got me one of the first Macs. I was so proud. When I went to the first class on using it, the instructor told me he never would have accepted me if he had known how little I knew. I resolved to master this machine, which I did, sort of. I forgot to look at whether he had cloven hooves and a tail.

My next machine, when I started my own business, had the large screen so you could view two facing pages when laying out newsletters and such. I was thrilled, but ready to hire professional designers who could actually use that feature.

Next came an iMac, beautifully designed, with a super-large screen and rather easy controls. Then came email and Facebook and iTunes and an iPhone eagerly slurping the Kool Aid. After saying I never would, my lust to show how superior they were in every way even led me to post photos of my grandchildren online.

I should have realized that being au courant wasn’t supposed to make you frazzled. The genie was out of the bottle and he was a skinny man in jeans and a black turtleneck – Stevistopheles – and he was leering at the likes of me. Then he died but his hold seemed to tighten. His spirit set about exacting vengeance for my grievous insults to come.

My iPhone went down – actually the battery lasted two years, which is good – so I went to my local A T and T store and found out I could get the iPhone 4 for only $99, cheap now that the iPhone 4G or 4S or whatever the hell it is had been released. The fellow who sold me the new phone assured me that all I had to do – absolutely all – was go home and sync it to my computer and it would magically absorb the stuff I needed, but particularly my calendar. With my so-called memory I needed to have that electronic calendar available at home and on my person and I needed to have them agree.

It was not to be. My current computer would not sync to the new phone because it all had to go through iTunes, and I didn’t have the latest version of iTunes on my computer. How could I not know that a calendar would be dependent on the device that lulled me with Mel Torme and Luciano Pavarotti? This was my first inkling that I was walking into quicksand.

Someone finally told me – probably not the Apple Store because the wait time on phone calls during the holidays left me chewing on my forearm – that my primitive operating system, I forget which animal it is, was just not up to hauling me out of the muck. In fact, the people at the Apple Store said that I would probably have to vault right over Leopard and Snow Leopard and buy Lion. (I fervently pray that the next version after Lion – in a rare display of truth in advertising – will be called Hyena.)

So I bought a new lightweight laptop called Macbook Air. The Mac Store geniuses told me that my new Macbook Air would sync with my current iMac and that they would help me through what they call a Set-Up.

Dear reader, I have been to the Apple Store four times in the past month. My next Genius appointment is next week. The problem with these appointments is I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know, which is a major problem for older people when learning new systems. I just want them to make everything work. Is that asking too much?

Now I spend my days wandering the moors (okay, the first floor) with wild hair (yeah, my hairdresser broke her knee) calling out for vengeance. Or at least a computer that works. Also checking my three calendars – one on each computer and the great big paper one I bought.

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Mary Kay O'Grady

Mary Kay O'Grady is a former high school English teacher and later owned her own public relations business, The O'Grady Group. She has lived in Oak Park for almost fifteen years. She is currently the chairperson...

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