This is one of those fables with the moral “don’t be greedy”. 

A cou­ple of weeks ago at col­lege I spied a trol­ley loaded with books with the label “Take me!” The library was giv­ing away old books to make space for new ones. There were plen­ty of inter­est­ing titles, rang­ing from basic PC repair to *NIX to pro­gram­ming. I col­lect­ed a mas­sive pile of books (If I could place them all on top of each oth­er I think they would reach my waist). 

I trav­el by pub­lic trans­port (I don’t own a car), so there was no way in hell I could take them all home at once. What’s more, I was work­ing that evening and I had to take a bus to get there. I decid­ed to take about half of them and I made arrange­ments with the instruc­tors to leave the rest so I could take them the next day. It was a pain cart­ing those books to work and back (espe­cial­ly since I nor­mal­ly return home around 10:30pm), but I man­aged it. The next day I took the rest direct­ly home (thank­ful­ly I was­n’t work­ing that day). No dramas. 

Then on Mon­day I saw some­thing else at col­lege: free com­put­ers! They weren’t very good (AMD K6200 with 32MB RAM), but hey, they were free! There were only five of them and I did­n’t want to miss out, so I decid­ed to take two home at once. These were chunky: old-style AT desk­top cas­es made from thick steel. Car­ry­ing them home was a night­mare. I had to take fre­quent breaks so that my arms could recov­er. I also had a heavy backpack. 

I man­aged to get home with myself and the com­put­ers in one (or rather three) piece(s). My arms were almost numb. If I tried to raise my left hand to my face it would invol­un­tar­i­ly shake. I could not straight­en my left arm until two days ago. I can still feel a bit of mus­cle stretch­ing when I do. 

I still don’t know what I’m going to do with those com­put­ers. I don’t have any key­boards with AT con­nec­tors (I only have PS/2). I’ll have to give it some thought. 

It’s fun­ny what some peo­ple chuck out. A few months ago my mum found a per­fect­ly work­ing 63cm tele­vi­sion set. Yes­ter­day I was at my cous­in’s house and I saw a com­put­er mon­i­tor sit­ting on the side of the road. It was an old HP Pavil­ion 15in screen, and it was slight­ly damp since it had rained ear­li­er in the day. I did­n’t expect it to work, but I decid­ed to pick it up any­way. Not know­ing the fre­quen­cies of it, I decid­ed to hook it up and boot with the PCLin­ux­OS Pre­view 8 liveCD and hope that it would be auto­mat­i­cal­ly be con­fig­ured. Lo and behold, it was! KDE looked great run­ning at 800x600 on it. I’ve been want­i­ng to set my mum (who is essen­tial­ly com­put­er-illit­er­ate) with a com­put­er, but I did­n’t have a mon­i­tor. This one will do fine. 

My arms hurt / Sridhar Dhanapalan by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.