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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Thanks for the Memory (Card)

Oh, the wondrous times in which we live.

Not long ago, I heard that some intrepid silicon slinger had worked out a way to cram sixteen gigabytes worth of storage onto a leetle, itty bitty microSD card — the same format supported by my fancy new cell phone. I heard this news, and said what any self-respecting technoweenie would say:

It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

But I let a couple of weeks pass before I really looked into it. Long enough, I hoped, for the day-one top-shelf fresh-off-the-presses price gouge to play itself out and give way to a cost that might fit into the budget of a small, fiscally responsible household. As opposed to the budget of a small, free-spending, dictator-led South American country.

(For the record, I’m not necessarily saying that our household doesn’t operate under the auspices of a dictator, albeit a wise and benevolent one.

I’m just saying that she doesn’t let me near the checkbook without a damned good reason. Should I ever want to form my own standing militia or build a palatial estate on the backs of the common workers, I’m going to have to do it on my own dime. I suppose the presidential seaside bungalow will just have to wait.)

Luckily, I was more than comfortable with this waiting period. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m really not an ‘early adopter’ kind of guy when it comes to new technology. I don’t want to be left coughing up someone else’s electronical dust, mind you, but I’m also not interested in camping out at a strip mall for three days to get the very latest Commodore computer or Intellivision gaming system. Or whatever it is the kids are into these days.

I’m perfectly okay with being the first on my block, or the first in my office, to try out some new whizbang toy. It’s not worth freezing my transistors off in a pup tent on Newbury Street in Boston just to say I was the first geekjob in this hemisphere to paw some gizmo. I’m just not that guy.

“Best wishes on a successful testicle redropping during the spring thaw, after enduring a few New England winter nights huddled with a Coleman down your pants outside the Best Buy.”

(If you’re that guy, then more power to you. Best wishes on a successful testicle redropping during the spring thaw, after enduring a few New England winter nights huddled with a Coleman down your pants outside the Best Buy. And many congratulations on your purchase of computer hardware that will likely be obsolete by the time you regain feeling in your extremities. I hope nothing important got frostbitten that you were planning on rubbing up against a loved one in future.)

Me, I’ll sit on my warm, asscheek-imprinted sofa at home and play the waiting game. Which is what I did with this microSD doohickey, until I saw Amazon advertising it for just under sixty bucks. Sixteen gigs. For sixty bucks.

Did I say it already? The ‘wondrous times in which we live’ thing? Because that’s just crazy, there.

That’s when I decided to make my move. No longer would I be bound and shackled to the measly factory-issue one gigabyte card in the phone. Oh, no, sunshine. With credit card perched in sweaty palm — and purchase requisition forms signed, stamped and filed in triplicate with the missus — I would soon be sporting a beefy sixteen gigabytes of storage in my cell phone. That’s like, I don’t know, enough space to walk around with the Library of Congress in my pocket. Or every song ever sold on iTunes, ever. Or the complete works of Hustler magazine, in slideshow format.

(You know. If you’re into any of those sorts of things.)

Flushed with excitement, I placed my order and waited. The next three-to-five business days oozed slowly by like quaalude-spiked molasses. Until finally, mercifully, yesterdayally, a package showed up in the mailbox. Addressed to me. And not from a credit collection agency, or laced with a suspicious white powder. Oh, happy day!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only drooling moron in the house interested in this package.

Because we have a dog. And said dog, in that tiny addled brain of hers, believes that the entire world revolves around her. How she’d have any different idea, living in a house with humans who feed, water, walk, treat, coddle, cuddle, pet, scritch, cater to and acquiesce to her every doggy whim, I can’t imagine. So it’s our fault, really, when you get down to it. We’ve created a mutty princess.

(Okay, so she’s really not that bad. She may sleep with a blanket in her kennel, and have rawhides strewn throughout the house like some sort of cowskin Easter egg hunt, but she doesn’t sleep in the bed with us. Nor does she get table scraps, save a healthy morsel here and there as a treat.

And when we’re in the house and conscious, she doesn’t even climb onto the couches. Or scratch them up. Or piddle on the cushions. As far as we know, she doesn’t even do those things. Some sort of burglar or rogue stray dog barges in while we’re unavailable and musses up the joint in our absence.

At least, that’s what she’d like us to believe.)

Anyway, the salient point here is that in the dog’s feeble little mind, any package carried into the house is her package. And she’ll sniff and wag and generally wiggle herself into the very epicenter of the way until the unwrapping is complete. That’s how she ‘helps’. She’s a ‘helper’. ‘Helping’ is what she’s doing here.

Meanwhile, there’s dog fur hopelessly glommed onto whatever it is we’re trying to unpackage, and packing peanuts and bits of cardboard sticking out of her nose. And all the while, she wags and sniffs and licks and drools and sheds and ‘helps’. A one-eyed epileptic Edward Scissorhands would be more assistance, but that doesn’t deter the dog. She’s incorrigible.

Back to the package at hand, and my miracle of mobile phone memory miniaturization inside.

I managed to get the outer cardboard envelope off the thing without an inordinate amount of face licking, or a snootful of dog ass. So far, so good. That left me with a wee tiny little clear plastic case, barely bigger than a quarter. And an even tinier microSD chip inside, as small as my pinky fingernail. How those people squish sixteen gigabytes of data onto something so small without a ‘Honey, I Shrunk the RAM‘ machine is frankly beyond me.

Have I said it yet? The wondrous times thing? Okay. Moving on, then.

All I had to do was extract my little chip from this case, pop my phone open, pull out the old SD card, and install the new one. Simple. Except for my other ‘SD’ — the Slobbering Dog, who by this point was desperately interested to see what the hell was so important in this stupid package that didn’t involve kibble or a bone or some sort of barely-edible horsemeat product.

And I’m not the most sure-fingered phone fiddler in the forest, by a long shot. I knew that with just one slip — one unexpected wag or lick when I wasn’t looking for it — that shiny new card of mine would slip out of my hands. And into the floor. And, almost certainly at that point, right down my snurfling dog’s hungry gullet.

And let me make something one thousand percent clear. I don’t care how fancy this little wonder of modern technology is, or how many household budgetary amendments I had to make before the chairlady recognized my purchase request. I am not sifting through three days worth of pooch poop to find and salvage the stupid thing. I have a very strict policy — if something goes into the dog, then under no circumstances am I going to attempt to fish it out, or acknowledge its existence ever again. It’s a black hole. I don’t care how far the thing is in there, which end it got crammed into, or what kind of noise it made going in — or for that matter, coming out. It’s objecta non grata, once the inside of the dog is involved. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Which means that I had to try very hard to keep my SD card, barely a morsel in the mutt’s eyes, away from her gaping slobbery maw. Or her nose. Or ears. Or certainly her ass — because this thing is probably small enough to get lodged in there somehow, and besides the fact that I wouldn’t want to use, touch or think of it ever again should that happen, what in god’s name would I tell the vet? She sat on my phone? Our game of ‘pin the T-Mobile on the donkey’ went horribly wrong? My charger was busted, and I thought, what the hell, a USB port is a USB port?

(No good could possibly come of that. By the time the ASPCA got done with me, I’d be the one sleeping in a kennel. And they’d probably take away my blanket.)

It was a touch-and-go situation for a while, but I finally managed to get the missus to distract the mutt with a shiny object or candygram or defenseless piglet or something in the other room, and I made the SD card swap. At least, I think I did; those damned things are so freaking small, it’s hard to know which was which. It’s like trading two grains of rice in a takeaway kung pao chicken tin — could you really be certain you made the swap? It’s unpossible.

On the bright side, all of my music and pictures went away. So that’s progress, probably. Either the new card is in the device, or I completely horked the old one during the fiddling and futzing and dog wrangling extravaganza. I wouldn’t be at all shocked to learn that a rogue mutt hair or bit of dog dander got lodged in the card and sent the data thereon to the depths of electronic hell. For that matter, I wouldn’t be surprised if what I put back in the phone actually is a bit of dog dander. It’s just that small. And I’m just that clumsy. And the dog is just that ‘helpful’. The real card is probably halfway through her colon by now, on an unspeakable relentless odyssey toward that big USB port at the end.

How’s that for a ‘wondrous time’? Let’s see you try to store your phone numbers on it now. Yikes.

Permalink  |  7 Comments



7 Responses to “Thanks for the Memory (Card)”

  1. #Debi says:

    “A one-eyed epileptic Edward Scissorhands would be more assistance…”

    That, sir, is what we like to call comedy gold

    Also, “candygram” *snort*

    Is your dog’s name Mongo?

  2. lori says:

    Thanks for the very funny visuals. I didn’t let my dogs read this like I normally would. We have enough issues.

  3. J.W. says:

    Comedy Gold, indeed!!

    Too friggin’ funny! Can funny be “too”?

    That was hilarious.

    Your wife is a wise, wise woman. Men need a good buffer zone, just so they don’t get into much mischief too fast.

    And Mz. Bettie Page, only aimes to please! LOL!

  4. Charlie says:

    Thanks, Debi, Lori and J.W.! I’m just glad I got the stupid new card into the phone without incident. And without the need for canine ipecac. Or a doggy enema.

    It remains to be seen whether the thing actually works or not, but somehow I’m certain I’ll have ‘help’ when the time comes for that, too.

    Looks like I’ll have to order another candygram.

  5. MadMadMargo says:

    Genius, pure genius!

    (Take a bow, Charlie.)

  6. Of course, my problem is I have all these gigabytes on my memory card in my phone and no way actually to get anything off the phone, like pictures (which are crappy anyway, but hey when you want that picture and you forgot the real camera, you have to have it, you know)?

  7. Charlie says:

    Gracias, Margo!

    And Rambler, so far I can do you one better. I got the damned thing into the phone, but I haven’t yet managed to put anything on it. Much less take it off.

    I think memory cards are like nuclear weaponry. You feel a little safer knowing you own one, but god help you if you ever have to actually use it.

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