Joe and the End of Your World

by Barrett

Will this cup of Joe greet your next sunrise or doom your computer to a gloppy death?

How important is all the content on your computer?
If you lost it tomorrow, how much would it hurt?

  • All your family photos
  • Your home movies
  • Music collection
  • Every word you’ve written over the past ten years

Gone.

That would be bad.

The Terminator is Real
Like it or not, we live in an age where much of your life is stored on a small metallic box on your desk. Whether it’s a laptop, desktop or all-in-one, an ever-increasing amount of what’s important to you lives there.

Unfortunately, it is inevitable that your digital life will be in crisis… sooner or later.
Eventually, all hard drives fail. Period.
You need to protect your content and back it up.

Fortunately there are a variety of strategies to do just that with external drives and Cloud storage.

You must fight against that unexpected doom you know is waiting out there.
Thankfully, you have a good chance to prevent your personal digital apocalypse.

And if the unthinkable were to happen, at least you could take some comfort in the belief that it was not your fault. Blame would lie elsewhere. Your conscience would be clear.

But how would you feel if you caused it all?
What if you were your own digital Terminator?
Last week I had a glimpse of that.

There is a quiet evil that often lurks quite close to your computer.
It’s name is-
Coffee

Every morning I happily sit down at my desk with my cup of Joe.
I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember. And yes, we all know that spilling java on your computer is a catastrophe. Motherboards don’t react well to any fluid, let alone coffee. If the circuitry survives the moisture after the drying out stage, the dried gloppy residue would surely seal the deal.

So I’m careful. Very careful.
Still…

Judgement Day
Last Tuesday at 6:31am, the unthinkable happened.

My right hand moved too quickly to pick up a piece of paper and clipped my travel mug. It was a glancing blow, but it was enough.

The mug was recently filled with freshly brewed French roast mixed with a little hazelnut blend I like to throw in for some flavor zing.

And like a movie scene in slow motion, I watched my mug tip over, and its black digital death start to spread across my desk like a tidal wave.

Ahead of the creeping wake were my old laptop, my new iMac, and my backup external hard drives.

Time was short, and I had to act quickly.
At best, paper towels from the kitchen were fifteen seconds away, round trip.

As I sprinted, I heard myself muttering, “No, no, no, NO!”
I knew my rescue mission would not return in time.

But I had to try.

Sixteen seconds later, I layered my desk with a complete paper towel roll, soaking up the evil goo.
I plunged targeted crunched-up Bounty balls into the empty spaces in front of my sacred back up drives.
A gauntlet… a final line that I hoped would hold.

An Unlikely Ally
My desk was particularly cluttered that day with scattered note pads and folders, representing my ongoing reliance on my old analog ways.
All of the paper was now soaked and mutated brown.

I quickly removed the engorged paper towel strips to get a clear view on whether my brew had reached my precious hardware.

With just fractions of an inch to spare, remarkably, the coffee had been successfully repelled on all critical fronts.

But I wasn’t the hero.
Remember, my rescue mission had arrived too late.

What saved my digital life?
My analog life.

All that disorganized paper on my desk. The coffee spent too much time doing its destruction there. The delay allowed my rescue mission to arrive in time.

All that outdated paper. Mostly useless in today’s digital world.
Imagine how angry and bitter it must have been feeling.

And yet, it willingly gave up its existence for the greater digital good.
(Sniff. Sob.)

Anyway…
I’m just very lucky.

Wake up and Smell the Coffee
So moving forward, no more morning coffee at my desk anymore, right?
Are you crazy?!

What I did do is go to Amazon and buy a pear-shaped desk coffee mug with a much lower center of gravity that is designed not to tip over. And it’s got a removable rubber base to prevent slippage.

It’s the HotJo Stoneware Wide Base Travel Mug.
$17.95.

I highly recommend it.

Do I still tempt fate? Maybe.
But like having a good digital back up plan,
at least now, I’ve got an upgraded no-spill strategy.

One of my cats sits close by and purrs at me.
Eight more lives.

My computer should be so lucky…

Hope I never have to write about this ever again.

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