My family got our first home computer when I was 14 years old. It was a Mac, and the screen was approximately the size of your big toe. My mom bought it in preparation for my entrance into high school, for the papers I'd write. Being a teacher, she knew that she could use it for all kinds of work-related documents, banners, signs, etc. What we didn't anticipate was the enormous gift to humanity that our first Mac provided my family: Tetris.
Some families refer to their calm, good times as the salad days. I like to think of the years 1991-1994 as The Tetris Days. It started small. My sister, Peggy, gave us a little floppy disk with the game and a few others, including this weird darts game that I could never master, entitled, "The Pleasure Palace." Once I started to play tetris, I saw the game long after I'd shut down the little Mac. I'd cut my dinner's steak up, and see the long four-squared piece, street signs and the geometric designs on the bathroom tiles all became a big, lifesized constant game of Tetris. The Mac became the center of the family*, as we all watched each other play tetris while making up words to the 'russianish' theme song played in the background: "Loser, loser, loser, you are a loser" were usually the components of any good tetris theme lyric.
But this was not meant to be a post about tetris, although it is quite possibly the best computer slack tool ever, except for the internet, which Al Gore hadn't even invented yet when we got the Mac.
The other good times we had on the mac were in Word Perfect. Ah, the fun we had before the internet. Our Word Perfect program came equipped with a "read it" tool, and the computer would read whatever we wrote. So, yes, we had good times making the computer saying antiestablishmentarianism and transubstantiation among other, less polite or erudite, words. But it was in particularly silly "read it" button in Word Perfect session where my sister, Peggy, and I created her alter ego, Grubmer. Peggy and I were just trying to crack each other up with the "read it" button, and she typed in the name that was to become her forever alias, her login name, I can only presume, for when she chats online with babes all day.
Grubmer is my silly sister, the sister who at 24 chose to stay home with her geeky little sister to watch tv over going out with her hip friends. The sister who would sleep in my bed when she came home from college to keep me company and have the truly life affirming coversations that my young brain needed to have in order to remain sane after the death of my father. I've always looked up to her, have always valued and loved beyond pretty much every other human being on this earth, because she can alternatively make me cry and make me laugh in about 30 seconds.
So, by my calculations, on August 29th, Peggy's Grubmer alias turned 16 years old. I hope she had a fabulous birthday. I wish I could buy her a car. But instead, I can only serenade her with the tune that made her a tetris legend on our old Mac.
"Loser, Loser, Loser, You are Loser."
I love you Pegs!!
*Hyperbole, people, for reals.