#book Prologue: Ghost in the Machine

Since I was a young boy computers have always held a interspersing fascination over my being. Since we got the first one when I was 7 years old I felt like I could hear the think ticking at me like a clock. It was sitting their collecting dusk in my room. My Parents had gotten it as a gift from my Grandparents they said, it was the most expensive thing we had in the house, only the cars in the driveway had any more value.  They took it out of the box and set it up in our room since it in the house with any room to it the desk. They argued a little bit about how to turn it on but decided against powering it on for some reason.  They told us not to mess with it and it just said there collecting dust.

over the next couple of months I started messing with it.It started out with reading what we’re described as the user manuals and I figured I should start by reading all of them. There was one for the computer one for each of the little programs that seem to go with it so I figured out call my own what it was all about. it was a secret operation because I figured my parents said don’t touch the computer but they didn’t say anything about the books that were with it. I studied those things until I felt like I had a good grasp on what this thing was all about. The next step I took was to rearrange all the cords because my parents didn’t even actually get them plugged in.

The fateful day when I turn that thing on was a thrilling experience. I knew I was doing something my parents didn’t want me to do but this expensive thing has been sitting on the table and I figured there was practically nothing I could do to break it. So I fired it up by pushing the power button and it slowly blinked to life. it was a Packard Bell navigator and it loaded right up into some weird software screen. I had read the manuals so I basically was aware of everything that was supposed to be happening so I just kept on pressing the enter button like it said. Eventually I made it to the inside of the computer. it was running windows 3.1 and I decided that I made it far enough and I should probably stop and I shut the thing down immediately. My brother started giving me a little bit of crab saying that I was going to get in trouble but he also mentioned that it was kind of funny that my parents couldn’t actually figure out how to put it together and I managed to do it all on my own.

That night I was laying awake in bed just thinking about all the noises and worrying that that little machine was making and what it really meant for our family. we didn’t have any regular mechanical clocks in my room because I used to always get bothered by them because I could hear them ticking away. My parents got us a digital clock for my room so we didn’t have to worry about that noise because it kind of annoyed me for some reason. I was always a little inquisitorial as to how the computer kind of did sound like a clock in a lot of ways but was much more musical. I felt like I could hear the little ticking and tacking of the process or even when it was turned off but I never really dug too far deep into that.

over the next couple of months I actually just sat down at the computer when I would get home from school and start messing with it. My brother was always playing the Nintendo so I needed something to do since I had already exhausted most of the books on the bookshelf. I learned how to install programs and use the computer to write things and playing video games. In the end it was the video games that actually got me caught. One day my mom came home early from work and I was deep into a video game called mega race that involve racing and shooting and blowing things up. I’d rather enjoy that game a lot.

My mom came around the corner and I’m just sitting on the computer and she looks at me looks at my brother and starts asking us if we did our chores and stuff. It took her about two minutes to realize that I was sitting in front of the computer and using it. Who is the longest two minutes of my life because I knew I was busted and I was literally caught red-handed hand on bows hands-on keyboard screen going off with noises coming out of the machine. my mom came around the corner and I’m just sitting on the computer and she looks at me looks at my brother and starts asking us if we did our chores and stuff. It took her about two minutes to realize that I was sitting in front of the computer and using it.

this is the longest two minutes of my life because I knew I was busted and I was literally caught red handed hand on bounce hands on keyboard screen going off with noises coming out of the machine. She looks at me and her eyes get massive and she’s like oh my god what are you and then she paused. She looks at me she looks at the computer sees that the computer is on and running and I’m playing some sort of video game and just stays quiet for about 30 seconds her brain putting things together. She finally just said oh my God you got the computer working, me and your dad couldn’t figure it out. She then saw me playing the game and I showed her a few things that I had figured out with the computer and she just was kind a happy. She was also mad and grounded me for a week for touching the computer but then had me show her how to use the thing.

sometimes I feel like that box was just calling out to me because I needed some thing to do and it needed somebody to help it do it’s thing. My parents were pretty much OK with us using the computer all the way up until the Internet became a thing a few years later.

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