After seven faithful years of service, I’m retiring my old Macbook. The time has come. Looking back at my trusty laptop, I can see the damage of the years, but also the stories it carries etched into every surface.
I bought it for college when George W. Bush was still president. I remember opening up the white box to see it gleaming inside and I remember thinking it was the most beautiful machine I had ever seen.
Now, it bears the battle scars of time. I have dropped it in every kind of weather, from a snowstorm to a monsoon cloudburst, utterly wrecking one hard drive. Its tattered power cord is held together primarily with electrical tape. My most-used keys have taken on a glossy sheen from years of abuse. My friend Nathan dropped a camera on my computer from six feet up while trying to get an artsy shot of me working and broke off the option key. To this day, part of the ritual of starting up my computer is clicking that loose key into place. The screen is marred with scratches and small clusters of dead pixels that bloom like algae with each new year. The optical drive is shot from too many marathon DVD-burning sessions for my film studio. The edges are chipped on every side, giving a glimpse at its silicon guts in the right light. The overworked fan often gives up, causing the computer to shut off without notice.
My Macbook has had one foot in the grave for a long time and yet, I’m sad to part with it. I wrote my first stage play with it. All 96 episodes of Obscure Studios’ webseries Reilly’s Dorm were shot with its webcam and edited with iMovie 2008. I can see the imprint of every short story and every attempted novel in the patterns of wear on the keyboard. It has been with me everywhere, from the mountains of Flagstaff to swampy heat of New Orleans to the frozen wastes of Minnesota to the gritty streets of Tacoma.
It may be the end of an era, but every generation must make way for the next. My Macbook has had a longer life than most of its contemporaries and it’s time for it to rest. My new Macbook Pro has some awfully big shoes to fill.
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Jonny Eberle is a writer in Tacoma, WA who gets weirdly nostalgic about his tech. You can find him on Twitter or in your nearest coffee shop, typing away.