By Jack Cawthon 2012

The Little Woman (5 ft., 1 in.) came running when she heard my scream. Well, it wasn't so much a run as an amble walk. Over the years she has learned to identify my screams as pain, anguish and frustration. It was the latter she zeroed in on and headed straight for the computer.

I scream a lot at the computer. We are serviced by Frontier Internet, and here you may use "serviced" as a farmer applies it to his cattle. Some wag with a great sense of humor must have named the company and then went looking for places that best suited it. West Virginia makes number one again! What better frontier, and with the threats of Indian attacks long gone.

"What is it now?" she asked, "You forget your password again?" "It's the little round dot," I explained, with a trace of a sob. "I think I have 10 minutes of my life unaccounted for."

I had been waiting, waiting as the little round dot spun round and round and round...and suddenly I came to and 10 to 12 minutes of my life were missing.

I had noticed this happening before and it suddenly dawned on me that the little round dot perhaps was intended to hypnotize so that time would seem to stand still and we would never notice the wait.

"Why do you want the computer anyway as it always causes you to scream?" she asked. I told her I needed to check my e-mail. "You never get any mail to check," she taunted.

"Not so," I replied. "I may get a note from a loyal reader," I reminded her. When, she asked, did I last receive one? I was ready, because I had written it down in my notebook, which is called an "analog" in techie speak, as I try to keep up with technology.

"March 31," I proudly replied. I had expected her to ask what year, but she had moved on to other wifely duties, watching The Price is Right, as I recall.

Even if I don't hear from readers about my serious writing touching their lives, I still have a useful purpose: immortality. It was once called "vanity writing" when one had to pay to have one's words put into paper form. It cost a lot of money and paper deteriorates over time.

Every writer is a vanity writer of sorts, even those who are paid, assuming his or her words are worthy of someone reading them. "All is vanity," saith The Preacher in the Good Book, including us all, even televangelists.

But every time I write something here, assuming that my estimate of readers in the high single digits who will open it for the novelty if nothing else, I get into their computer hard drives.

By watching crimes shows on TV, bad guys are caught by the cops looking at computer hard drives, as the stuff that enters them can't be eliminated except by driving a silver spike at midnight through the center, although I may have that confused with killing vampires. Anyway, it's pretty permanent.

Suppose most of us get wiped out by global warming, or obesity, or some other quirk of fate. Years from now archaeologists, a hardy bunch to kill off, come digging for treasures of the past and they find those hard drives.

"Eureka," as we say on the pipeline, they play the hard drives, and, by golly, there I am along with maybe a little porn here and there. This doesn't even count the big heart of the Herald. Bet that sucker can't be killed even with radiation.

My whole concern now is getting this into my hard drive as the little round dot goes round, and round, and round...What was I saying? Oh yes, immortality.

I must hurry as I am approaching the limits on the statistical chart of expected life spans prepared by government and insurance companies, even for clean-living people such as I.

Will I live long enough, considering the little round dot, to enter the hearts of enough hard drives to live to eternity? Immortality is a tough goal!

In the meantime, it would be helpful if someone who should happen to find this writing, even by mistake--delete doesn't cut it, you're stuck--could let me know. March 31 is a long stretch, and I'm not sure that person even had the right address.

Just one hard drive at a time, I plead, may carry me beyond. It makes waiting on the little round dot so worthwhile, but takes me ever closer to the end.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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