It started with my computer key, but it will end in a harrow haunting


Jessie Warren

The Dead and the Dying (2022), an on-the-spot event that was held in room 139 in remembrance of mine and Jessie’s computer.

My toxic trait is attaching myself to everything in my life—but more specifically, my computer. I am in a dire need of a new one, but I can’t give Fran up. 

Fran’s extensive list of issues started last January when I exploded a cherry Coke at my desk. I cleaned her up to avoid complications, but the damage went beneath her marred silver. The letter “o” key stopped functioning entirely, so, for the past year, I’ve been copying and pasting the letter whenever necessary. Relearning how to type was a struggle, but now, I can’t use another computer without hitting Command-V. 

Since the cherry Coke mishap, I’ve had to make more adjustments to my life in order for this glorified typewriter to function. My 2014 MacBook Air has seen her time and has definitely lived a life. Her previous owner took foul care of her, leaving me with all the external problems: dents, scratches, cigarette burns, and the most defiled keyboard ever. 

Countless The Central Trend stories have been written on Fran; some good stories, some award-winning stories, and some stories that won’t ever escape drafts where they’ll sit and die. I’ve played hundreds of hours of Minecraft and spent some time figuring out how to play nostalgic childhood Flash Player games. My photo booth is entirely my friends and I doing dumb things in class with funky filters on top. Some of the greatest memories at school trace back to Fran, but also the worst parts of high school do too. 

Since that late night in January, my geriatric computer has been through the trenches and met face-to-face with demons in dark corners. She acts up, but can I blame her? I messed with her down arrow key, and now the silicone nub that makes it work is lost in a classroom’s carpet. The backspace button is a piece of duct tape holding a similar piece of silicone because I learned from my mistakes. There are pencil markings from work, but her best characteristic is the signatures on the front from the friends in my photo booth. 

Sometimes, she turns on, but sometimes, I’m greeted with the black screen abyss. It’s been hard to do anything now. For one, I’m not sure that she’ll turn on the next time, and two, having to make modifications to what was already established is difficult. 

I hate it. The frustration seems to intensify every time a new issue appears, and I can’t do anything about it until I get a new computer. Any day now, my life will change in a smaller sense. I’ll have new technology with features that I’m not used to, like operating keys and little features that add to every update. I won’t have to have the Wikipedia page for the letter “o” bookmarked, nor will I have to angle my finger a certain way for the trackpad to work. 

My life will change in a way that only affects me. It will only affect me when I use the computer, but it’s still change. 

I, in every sense, can’t handle any sort of change.”

“I Can’t Handle Change” by Roar is the most relatable song to ever exist. I, in every sense, can’t handle any sort of change. I am no calendar or avid planner user, but a slight shift in my schedule is off-putting. Little occurrences too are equally as enraging: due dates changing, postponement for a function—stuff like that. 

The song never gets old. The vivacity in the tempo captures me, and I realize that my life is moving at a speed in which it has never gone. 

In a few months, I’ll have a new Fran, and, in a few months, a more monumental change will happen, and I’ve yet to realize its significance. All I have ever known about my life away from school will disappear, and it will all be okay again. The absence of antagonists in my life is going to bring harm to my unsettled, estranged conception of peace. I’m losing a chunk of my life bigger than my dying computer—I’m losing a chunk of myself too. 

In this change, I am supposed to be benefitted, but I can’t handle it. No matter the amenities that accompany it, I still cannot take it. Soon, Fran will be retired and my brain rewired. Everything without them will be better, but it haunts the wavering tide of nimble emotions. 

Soon, I’ll be a new person with a new computer and life, but what good will it do if I react in my usual way? Anger and outburst are only cute for so little time in my world. I guess it’s another one of my toxic traits that come with agonizing change.