Posted in Lessons by The Books Production Team on September 12, 2008


typewriter5         Penmanship in America is on the decline.  This is not a shocking revelation, and I’m sure you’re aware that the real blame for this epidemic lies with one of two guilty parties: it’s either the fault of our second-grade teachers, or the fault of our increasing reliance on computers.  Debate amongst yourselves (and I’m inclined to blame the teachers – because you need a computer to read this post), but the end result of this deterioration in calligraphic skill led me to a conclusion last spring.  After four years spent trying to decipher 60 final-exam blue-books every semester that looked more like ancient hieroglyphics than standard written English, I was done with handwritten essays.

           Fast forward to the opening day of the semester, Fall 2008.  As we worked our way through the syllabus, I informed my students that they were to bring their laptop computers to class during the midterm and final exam periods.  Amazingly, a full third of the students told me that they would be unable to do so, since they had only a desktop.  My initial reaction?  I accused them all of being liars, because desktop computers are extinct, right?!?  I’m serious, maybe I’m out of touch, but I would not have been more surprised if a saber-toothed tiger had jumped through the window at that moment and started doing the Macarena for no reason. HEYYY MACARENA. A-HAI!!!

         Stunned by this roadblock, I was prompted to do a little research.  I started with the Dell catalog, where one of America’s most popular computer-manufacturers offered a number of these still-extant desktop machines.  I then flipped to the cover, to verify that the date of the catalog was indeed 2008.  It was.  Amazing!  Next, I flipped through the remaining pages of the catalog to see if I could land a sweet deal on a VCR or Van Halen tickets –  but no dice – evidently these things actually are extinct.  Finally, I called a few of my friends who have real jobs with titles like “accountant” and “financial planner.”  It turns out that many real-world businesses employ the desktop computer because it is a cheaper, more powerful machine that is capable of running massive software, it is easier to replace individual parts on, and it is less likely to be stolen.  Unfortunately, for the college students of America, it’s less likely to be stolen because…well…wait for it…because it’s f-ing stationary! HEYYY MACARENA.  A-HAI!!!

         Look, I understand that many of you own the computer you own – and you have the responsibility to, as my grandpa says, “dance with the girl that brung you.”  But, if you are a high-school senior receiving a computer as a graduation present, or if you are a college student whose hard-drive crashes, BUY A LAPTOP!  They’re portable, and this has several demonstrable advantages in the college world.  If your roommate is Connor from Dead Man on Campus (see Lesson #9) and you have a paper due the next morning, you can take your laptop computer to the library and type your paper in quiet.  If your professor delivers interesting lectures but you can’t read your own chicken-scratch handwriting, you can take your laptop computer to class and take notes (see Lesson #3).  And if your professor delivers horribly boring lectures that make you want to stab yourself in the neck with your pencil, you can take your laptop computer to class and play Call of Duty 4.  (Note: Not bringing a pencil to class also removes the danger of self-inflicted bodily harm.  It’s a win/win/win situation.)

        Sure, I hear what you’re saying – someday in the future you may want a desktop computer to run some crazy high-powered banking software in your home office.  But whatever technology you purchase in college is going to be outdated by then anyway.  Hell, someday in the future, you may also decide that you want to become a DJ who manually scratches at parties, like Funkmaster Flex – but this doesn’t mean that you should buy a gramophone to carry around campus with you instead of an iPod.  Have you ever tried running 5 miles with a record player?  It can’t be easy.

         NOTE: If by chance you are reading this post on your desktop computer, we’re still cool, right?

10 Responses

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  1. drwizard said, on September 12, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I’ll take open guesses as to what the guy in the picture is mixing at this moment. I’m going with Naughty by Nature into Color Me Badd.

  2. seamstress for the band said, on September 13, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    My vote is for Rod Stewart’s “If You Want My Body” into Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”. He looks like a guy that listens to both artists rather frequently…

  3. Wodie said, on September 13, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Obviously, he is doing his “Touched by an Angel” mix: Hardly Portland’s “That’s My Angel” into Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel”. Either that or he is stealing from DJ AM and mixing Don Ho’s “Tiny Bubbles” with Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection”.

  4. Ghost Dog said, on September 13, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    These guesses arent bad, but you’re not thinking outside the box enough. It’s not two separate songs at all. This guy is mixing Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations” into Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations” to create extra good vibrations. He doesn’t funk around.

  5. JB said, on September 15, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    This chick at work worn’t stop talking. I want to throw her in a pit full of hungry wildebeasts and hear what she has to say about it…anyway, it’s a trifecta: the opening riff of GNR ‘Sweet Child’ into Tesla’s ‘Love Song’ into Mr. Big’s ‘Be with you.’ Seriously, I know this guy, his name is Rick, he drives a teal 1980s Cavalier and has an exact copy of three Scott Stapp tattoos.

  6. Barry said, on September 15, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” into Amy Grant’s “Baby, Baby.”

  7. drwizard said, on September 15, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Those of you who went to high school with Dr. Wizard may remember a certain person who drove a Teal 1980s Cavalier, and was so proud of this fact that they actually ordered a vanity license plate that said “TEAL 99.” Awesome.

  8. Wodie said, on September 24, 2008 at 3:35 am

    Wow. As you know, Dr. Wizard, I did go to high school with you. And I do remember that vanity plate. It was second in hilarity only to Robert Bryant’s “BEER 57.” Robert inherited this license plate from his father who, judging by the constant bloodshot eyes and general aroma of hops/barley surrounding him, came by it honestly. When he was dropping off his sons (Robert and Jason) at Little League practice, my mom would always say “Beer’s boys are here.” That may lose a little something in translation, but hearing my mom say it was totally dope.

  9. drwizard said, on September 26, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Oh yeah, “BEER 57” was definitely a classic. I wonder if I can get the Ohio version of that plate for my Volvo?

  10. Robert the Terrible said, on November 29, 2008 at 3:07 am

    I hope you don’t mind posting comments on old topics, but anyway…..

    I have both… a POS laptop that i can use for word processing and minor gaming; and a heavy (by heavy i mean physically its hard to pick up) desktop for power hungry gaming 🙂

    point is, why not get both!? an old laptop on ebay can be bought quite cheap, and it would save you, your professor, the guy copying off you, and whom ever else has to read your writing, from well, reading your writing. 0_o;

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