The story of the hand-me-down Mac

My older brother is a natural born skeptic, far from being naive. So naturally, when he told me he’d won a free laptop by clicking on one of those flashing ad banners on the internet, I thought he’d lost his mind.

It was 2005 and Apple was riding the wave of success started with the iPod. Their newest laptop was the iBook G4, coveted by everyone who wanted to be hip and tech-savvy. And who could blame them? With a sleek and simplistic design that made it attractive and a $1,000 price tag that made it luxurious, the iBook was the laptop to have. It didn’t take long for scams to start cropping up on the internet claiming to offer them for free, so when my brother told me his “free” laptop was on the way, it would have been foolish to believe he hadn’t been suckered.

But then something weird happened. UPS arrived to leave a curiously laptop-shaped box at the doorstep, and the next time I set foot in his living room, my brother sat there grinning, playing with his brand new, crisp and shiny-white Mac.
No way.
It wasn’t possible!
And yet it was – The computer came with a letter from the company, congratulating him for winning and bidding him to enjoy his gift.
Out of every ad banner on the entire internet that claimed the viewer had won a laptop, my brother clicked on the one and only banner that was legit.

Needless to say, “jealous” was a mild word to use for how I felt. I spent hours online after that, combing the internet for feedback on various promotions and warnings about scams, looking for somewhere, anywhere, that I could get a free iBook of my own. Naturally, I didn’t find it.
Meanwhile, my brother didn’t really use the iBook. He had several computers already, including a laptop, and didn’t have much need for another. Still, despite my pleas, he wouldn’t let me buy it from him. He threw me a bone from time to time, letting me take it for a weekend or a night during the week. I had a desktop at my apartment, but being stuck in one place while I tried to write had me going stir crazy.

From the first night I spent using that laptop, it was love. The keyboard was the most comfortable I’d ever used, the weight of the computer just right. I sat in my living room floor and worked on touching up the beginning of a novel. It was great. It was right. But I had to give it back.

Over the years, I worked on teaching myself to write while stuck in the same chair all the time. No moving around, no shutting myself off from the outside world. Eventually, I married and moved away, buying my first laptop for myself. That was a game changer for my writing, but it still wasn’t the iBook. My brother, in the meantime, moved on to bigger and better computers and sold the iBook to my mother. One of my younger brothers used it for school. A few years passed, and the heavy use my laptop got put through began to take its toll. When the screen started failing, I thought I was up the creek. Mom offered to let me take the old Mac laptop, since they had no need for it.

The next time we made the six hour trip to visit my family, the Mac was mine. Long obsolete and with no working charger, eight years old with a battery that couldn’t hold a charge.
I was in love.
I nabbed a ten dollar charger and twenty dollar battery off Amazon. Eight years old, but it fired right up, ready to work, ready to do everything I needed. It became my new writing machine, hiding away in the bedroom with me or perching at the kitchen table. That luxurious keyboard still felt like new, the screen as bright as ever. I was delighted, awash with inspiration and a desire to finish what we’d started together.

After almost a decade, that novel I started on that little iBook was completed on it, as well. Everything had come full circle… And it was definitely worth the wait.



2 Replies to “The story of the hand-me-down Mac”

  1. Tried and true 🙂 Nice article. < <>> My favorite part of using the laptop was the fact that Steven loaded it with Christmas music and the first thing he showed me was how to run it softly in the background. I don't think I ever turned it on without having the music on. Write some more beautiful things for us!

Leave a Reply