Frankenstein Computers Make Little Girls Cry
Contrary to how much of a dick I portray myself to be, I am not a heartless monster. Normally when I decide to help someone it is usually to get them to shut up and stop nagging. There are a few occasions in a given year where I actually truly help people for the hell of it. Some of those instances are rather memorable because of the outcome and how good I felt inside from helping someone in need.
Of these far and few times, I remember the night I was asked to create a computer overnight for a little girl who just came from Cuba. She was the daughter of the cleaning crew at my mother’s office, a family struggling to get by during this tough economy. Their daughter had begun school and some way or another she was qualified to be given a computer so that she may do her homework and studies since a lot of textbooks and assignments are now done via software. Of course, when someone is given something for free it is normally a bag of dicks and is made from some E-Machine abomination in the late 90’s. It was only a matter of time before it exploded into a nuclear mess.
The specifics weren’t given but the computer died. I can only assume they spilled Materva on it since that is what I believe little Cuban children sustain themselves on. It could also have been a faulty power supply. I don’t know. I like labeling people. Her school wouldn’t supply her with another computer and her parents couldn’t cover the repairs or the cost of a new one. With most of her work being done on the machine she couldn’t get anything done and was marooned in situation a lot of families nowadays must be experiencing.
Her parents told my mother their sad tale and she decided to tell them I could build them a computer for free. She knew I had junk parts all over the place. It wasn’t a secret that I hoard shinies in the computer chassis in my room. I was involuntarily volunteered to create a new but stable atrocity from the discarded parts in my possession. Normally, I wouldn’t have minded doing this but I was given a single night deadline for some reason. You don’t ask my mother for an extension because she assumes you can find compatible components and install everything in the blink of an eye. She was under the theory that this would only take me a mere two hours to complete. She was so far from wrong.
Grabbing an old Dell unit that used to belong to my sister, I thought this would be an easy task as well. My heart and mind told me otherwise, constantly reminding me that nothing is easy when you believe it will be. I was going to just delete all of my sister’s files, remove her profile, and create a new one. Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma’am. Am I right or what?
No, I was wrong. There was something seriously wrong with my sister’s old computer. Out of nowhere a blue screen erupted forth, the harbinger of ill omens. Being the totally awesome guy I was, I knew it was the memory being a dick so I switched the sticks from some other cadaver unit sitting in my closet. The storm had cleared and the unit booted into Windows. As I began my purging of the registry I noticed there was a virus in the unit. Well, let me rephrase that. There were 28 high risk trojan viruses and I could only remove 14 of them. Normally after running three different antivirus softwares, if you fail it is wise to just reformat the computer since it is the easiest resolution. For this who know me, though, I hate reformatting a computer because it means I gave up on finding a true solution to the problem.
After attempting to remove them multiple times manually, I managed to have only two viruses left that would not go away. I googled many operations I could conduct to remove these annoyances but I couldn’t figure out how to do so. I spent a good four hours trying to avoid the inevitable. I decided to reformat.
It wasn’t until after I reformatted using my own Windows 7 CD that I realized I should put Windows XP on the system and use an old COA from one of my trash units. Unfortunately, I lost my Windows XP CD and this is where I began to curse to the Heavens. Why would God do this to me? Why would he make children in Africa starve and I had to suffer a similar fate by losing my Windows XP CD? What a cruel maker, I thought. The only option was to torrent the Windows XP software and burn it to a disc. As I torrented I began to search for a CD to burn it to. Turns out I ran out of CDs. I made the ultimate sacrifice and burned the operating system onto my Hulk VS Wolverine disc. My heart was shattered and broken.
Once the unit had Windows XP installed, I decided to put in the stable software I normally put into a freshly made computer: AVG, Malware Bytes, Google Chrome, Flash, Open Office and VLC Media Player. As I made my attempt to connect to the internet to install the drivers for the video card, I realized I couldn’t establish connection and that I didn’t know the name of any of the components on the damn system! My blood boiled with rage! It was already 4 am and I began my quest at 10PM! This was a travesty!
Murder filled my thoughts as I traversed the Dell Support site looking for the components that matched this unit. I couldn’t pin point the make and model specifics and I ended up having to mix and match the drivers till I found the correct ones. After multiple attempts at trial and error, the unit began to function. Hastily, I installed all the software and made sure the unit worked.
There was one thing missing though. I forgot this little girl needed a monitor, mouse, and keyboard since her school took her computer and all the components associated with it. Scurrying through my treasures I found an old mouse, keyboard, and an old 17″ LCD I thought I lost. Being the paranoid person I am, I made sure about three times that the system booted up, everything worked, and that all the components were properly functioning. Finally, I turned off the unit and put the entire thing on the table for my mother to pick up and take to her office. It was 6:45AM and I collapsed in bed.
It wasn’t until that night that my mother told me she gave the computer to the little girl. I really didn’t care what the girl’s reaction was. I just wanted to make sure the computer didn’t break or explode or something and all my trials were in vain. Turns out, the family was shocked I actually did it and that it was running better than their old computer. They thanked my mother for being so generous and asked her to thank me for staying up all night to build this perfect abomination for them. I don’t like to be thanked. It feels weird every time someone thanks me. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s some crazy psychological thing. Maybe I was molested by Mickey Mouse at Disney World and he thanked me for the feel up which I just blocked out but subconsciously get defensive when I am thanked. Crazy shit man… crazy shit.
Anyway, the part of this story that actually made me feel that I did something positive for this girl was what my mother told me next. She said the girl cried when she received the computer. She wasn’t used to people being so nice for nothing in return and broke out into tears. I felt good inside. Not because I made a little girl cry. I’m not some sick freak that enjoys watching children lose control of their emotions. I felt good because the “thank you” I got from this girl was genuine. This humdrum activity which I thought was more trouble than it was worth actually repaid me in full and I felt good about it.
I never met these people and I don’t really need to. Just knowing that I may have actually changed this girl’s life by showing her not everyone is a communist dickhole is something I will always remember. Sometimes not being a total douche and actually accepting someone’s need for help while not being promised anything in return pays you back in ways you didn’t really expect.